Physically challenged teenager swims across Periyar

Aseem Velimanna with his swimming coach Saji Valasseril.

Aseem Velimanna with his swimming coach Saji Valasseril.

Fifteen-year-old Aseem Velimanna’s excitement knew no bounds when he swam across a kilometre of the Periyar on Thursday morning.

Born without hands, the youngster had braved all odds to make his dream come true after undergoing a month-long training to complete the conquest of the Periyar, which began around 8.50 a.m. near the Adwaitha Ashramam ghat at Aluva.

He was trained by Saji Valasseril, who swam alongside, as Aseem’s parents, who belong to Omassery in Kozhikode, watched their child achieve the incredible feat. “This moment will always remain with us,” said an elated Mohammed Shaheed, Aseem’s father.

It was yet another special moment to cherish for Mr. Valasseril, as he completed 12 years of offering free training to people of all age groups. Since 2010, he has trained over 5,000 people. Of them, over 1,000 swam across the Periyar.

“I had started providing free swimming coaching in 2010 following a series of mass drowning incidents. The victims might have survived, had they known swimming. This prompted me to train people, especially the physically challenged,” he said.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 12:09:54 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/physically-challenged-teenager-swims-across-periyar/article38336420.ece