Inclement weather holds up Aakanksha's Channel swim

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Mumbai, Aug 8 (UNI) Inclement weather has held up Mumbai's ace long distance swimmer 15-year-old Aakanksha Mishra's 'double' of swimming the English Channel and The Strait of Gibraltar.

Mishra, who was told to be prepared for an August 5 swim by the Channel Swimming Association, was warned not to venture into the sea following a tornado in the Spanish coast.

The contractual agreement for Aakanksha's English Channel swim was signed and she was allocated between August 8 and 15. But, following suitable weather conditions, the Channel Swim Association suggested the Vile Parle lass be prepared for an early swim on August 5.

''But, suddenly the weather was cloudy and it was pouring, with winds speeds up to 27 mph,'' said Aakanksha from Dover.

''The wind was blowing in the North-West direction, which is not conducive for swimmers aiming to conquer the English Channel.

Swimmers are advised to take to the waters when the wind blows in the South-West or South-East directions,'' she added.

Coach Aarti Pradhan, who has been with Aakanksha in Dover for the last two months said, ''We could not take a chance. But Aakanksha is well prepared for the swim. She has been training daily (for around nine hours) in Dover.'' Pradhan also revealed that she had planned a 0200 hrs swim for Aakanksha on August 6 as part of her training, but they were again discouraged by thundering and lightning.

Aakanksha will also be the first swimmer of the season to swim the Channel in 2008. In case she happens to undertake the swim on August 15, her effort will coincide with India's Independence Day.

Her English Channel swim will be followed by the two-way Strait of Gibraltar swim.

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