September 24, 2020 earmarked another page in the history of swimming sport. On this day, Google dedicated a special doodle to honour the late swimming champion, Arati Saha on the occasion of her 80th birth anniversary.
India has produced many champion swimmers over decades. One of the fastest swimmers of the world and the fastest in the country is Maharashtra-born Virdhawal Vikram Khade. The Indian swimmer, nicknamed Veer, was born in Kolhapur on August 29, 1991. He is known for his flair in butterfly and freestyle strokes.
Khade participated in the men’s 50, 100, and 200 meters Freestyle swimming contests at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He set an Indian national record in the 100 meters Freestyle. At the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, the 29-year-old bagged a bronze in the 50 meters butterfly category. With that, Khade became the first Indian to get a medal in Asian Games in swimming in the preceding 24 years. In 2011, Khade was honoured by the Government of India with the Arjuna Award. Khade’s best timings include 22.43sec in 50m Freestyle clocked at 2018 Asian Games and 24.09sec in 50m Butterfly. He is married to fellow swimmer, Rujuta Khade, who is India’s fastest woman swimmer with her 50mm freestyle title. The husband and wife duo emerged as the country’s fastest couple in September, 2019.
On Thursday, Google honoured Arati Saha, a trailblazing long distance swimmer and Olympian, to celebrate her 80th birth anniversary. Saha is one of the most iconic Indian swimmers and has many accolades to her name. Born on September 24, 1940 in Calcutta, Saha has many firsts to her name. She started swimming on the banks of the Hooghly river at the age of 4 and won her first gold medal by the age of 5.
She was the first Asian woman to cross the English Channel and became the first Indian sportswoman to be conferred with the Padma Shri.