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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Indian Hero Mihir Sen Honoured By Two Prime Ministers

Mihir Sen (মিহির সেন) was a man of unusual talents and an incredible drive to see his dreams come through.

His exploits and achievements were celebrated twice in his native India by two separate Prime Ministers. Sen was awarded two separate civilian honors: the Padma Shri in 1959 by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Padma Bhushan in 1966 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Indian barrister was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966 soon after his most remarkable year of achievement.

Although he was the first Indian swimmer to cross the English Channel in 1958, it was the year 1966 when Sen put his mark on the open water swimming world.

He was a hero to many. Madhu Nagaraja recalls, "We had essays on Mihir Sen during my 4th or 5th grade classes and my mother had read me stories about Mihir in my youth."

In April, he swam 22 miles across the Palk Strait from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu in 25 hours 36 minutes. In August, he crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in 8 hours 1 minutes. In September, he not only swam 45 miles (72 km) along the length of the Dardanelles in 13 hours 55 minutes, but 9 days later, swam 16 miles and 4 hours in the Bosphorus. Then, in October, he swam 50 miles along the length of the Panama Canal in a stage swim that took him from Cristobal in the Atlantic Ocean to Balboa in the Pacific Ocean in 34 hours 15 minutes.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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