Autistic teen swims to spread awareness for protection of migratory birds

Navy Sailor Madan Rai’s 14-year-old daughter Jiya Rai on Sunday achieved the feat of swimming 21 km at Chilika Lake in Odisha in three hours 57 minutes. The swimming competition organised jointly by INS Chilka and Veterans Clubs Odisha (VCO) starting from between Krushnaprasad Garh and Kalijai Temple to Balugaon jetty, is dedicated to an awareness campaign for the protection of migratory birds.

Jiya, who has autism spectrum disorder, wants to become the first special girl in the world to swim the English Channel and seven oceans. On January 24, she was awarded the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar. “It is a proud moment for me. Her aim is to support development of nation and win medal in Olympics,” Madan Rai told TOl.

The event was flagged off by Cmde NP Pradeep, Naval Officer-in-Charge (Odisha) . Jiya was felicitated by Minister of Youth and Sports & Home along with Commanding Officer INS Chilka Commodore NP Pradeep.

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