62-year-old Englishman Mike Henchy takes part in the event

The 15th edition of the river swimming competitions organised by Aqua Devils Welfare Association on Sunday acquired an international touch with the participation of 62-year-old Mike Henchy from Peterborough, near Cambridge in London.

The go-getter from England, who is here as part of a 30-member team to raise money for the Heal Charity to build ‘Heal Paradise Village’ in Guntur district for underprivileged children, took part with gusto to finish third in the 60-plus category.

Daunting task

“Only a few in England prefer rivers for swimming. They are happy swimming in pools,” says the Englishman who cycled from Mumbai to Goa to raise awareness on the charity programme among public. “I am overawed by the splendour of river Krishna,” he quipped.

Over 200 swimmers, in various age groups, took part in the competitions which was flagged off by Andhra Cricket Association secretary Gokaraju Gangaraju and former India wicketkeeper M.S.K. Prasad.

Amidst vigil by boatmen and family members concerned, swimmers took off from Durga Ghat to reach Lotus Food City, covering 1.5 km with ease. Winning the youngest category prizes were Vishal (16 minutes 20 seconds) and Pravallika (17 minutes and 28 seconds) in the under-15 segment.

The other winners were K. Praveen Babu in the under-30 segment while J. Ramu touched the finish line first in the under 45 segment. Mr. Nagu and R. Hari Singh finished first in the under-60 and 60-plus categories.

The organisers heaved a sigh relief as the competitions ended without any untoward incident. Prizes, trophies and certificates were presented to all participants.

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