Bhakti Sharma, the 27-year old woman from Rajasthan, one of the desert states of India is the 1st Asian and youngest open water swimmer. Starting her swimming at the tender age of 2, she swam all the five oceans of the world. Being awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Award by President of India, Bhakti Sharma is an inspiration to all the Indians who are passionate to achieve their dreams.
“Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.” - Winston Churchill
Early Life of Bhakti Sharma
Born on 30th Nov 1989 in Udaipur, Rajasthan Bhakti Sharma is a role model and celebrity to the Udaipur people. Bhakti’s mother Leena was a bank employee and her father Chandra SekharSanadhya is a businessman. Her mother who is a former National swimmer takes the sole responsibility for her entry into the swimming sports. Teaching her the basics of swimming when she was 2 and a half years old, Leena has played a prominent role throughout her journey.
“The strongest aren’t those who always win, but they are the people who don’t give up when they lose.”
At the beginning of her journey, Bhakti hardly finds swimming pools in her place for training. After a year or so a school started swimming pool, and from then she used to train in that pool. She participated in several district-level competitions and won several prizes making her mark in her childhood.
Start of Journey
She made her debut into the State level competition when she was 14 and finished last. In the same year, she won 2 National Championships in CBSE National Level Competition. She faced a lot of challenges on the availability of training pools which were shut down in winter. Bhakti used to train at low temperatures to increase her resistance towards them. She used to practice 2-3 hours a day. In 2003 she made her 1st swim, in the Arabian Sea from Uran port to Gateway of India. In 2004, she swam a distance of 36km in the Indian Ocean. She is the champion of Rajasthan State Competition for eight consecutive years
In 2006, with the guidance and support of her mother, Bhakti crossed the English Channel in just 13 hours 55 minutes from Shakespeare Beach Dover, England to Calais, France. She completed this swim along with her mother and her friend Priyanka. From that day, she never looked back. With a strong will and stubborn mind, she started breaking and creating records in the open swimming.
“Don’t give up when you are the hardest hit. Rest if you must but do not quit.”
In 2017, she completed the Alcatraz swim in the Pacific Ocean. By winning Gold in the Key West Island in the Atlantic ocean, she became the 1st Asian swimmer to participate in 3 Major American swimming events. In 2010, she became the 2nd and youngest swimmer to swim the four oceans by completing her swim in the Arctic Ocean.
Record Break Moment
On Jan 10th, 2015, Bhakti broke the records of Lynne Cox (USA) and Lewis Pugh(Great Britain) and became the 1st Asian and youngest in the world to swim the Antarctic Ocean. She swam almost 1.4 miles(2.3 km) in 41.14 minutes and with this she swam all the five oceans of the world. With this achievement, she got praised by several people including the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
“Follow your passion, and the passion will lead you to your purpose.” - Oprah
Bhakti never neglected her studies in the name of her passion and completed her MBA. She also gave several motivational speeches and TEDx talks about inspiring people with her story. Despite all the odds she stood strong working for her dream and stole the hearts of millions of Indians. Bhakti is now preparing to enter the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and bag a medal for India.
Everyone should strive hard to achieve one's passion and dreams. Never give up on something you want. It is difficult to wait, but it’s more difficult to regret. So, never quit and keep on moving towards your dreams.