Nine-year-old Shristi Singh started swimming in her school’s pool at 5 am on Thursday to break the so-called local ‘non-stop swimming record’.
The previous best were by Mahima Attreya (37 km) and Saira Sirohi (37.6 km). Singh, who has been swimming for over 15 hours non-stop at Dehradun Public School (DDPS) in Govindpuram had already covered 39 km by 8.30 pm.
District sports officer Mudrika Tiwari said the sports department is not authorised to recognise such events and no communication was received for holding such an event.
“This is very much like Budhia’s case. Swimming continuously could damage the child’s organs and retard her growth in the long run. We don’t encourage such feats. There is no official legality of the record,” Tiwari said.
While the Class VI student’s parents, coaches and teachers cheered her on to break the record set by Attreya in 2007 and Sirohi in year 2008, no one confirmed the type of ‘record’ she would go on to break.
DDPS held the event for second year in succession after Sirohi swam for over 15 hours and covered 37.6 km in September 2008.
“She would go on swimming for over 38 km and break the previous record. She is a prodigy and her parents and our school is supporting her efforts. If anything goes wrong health wise, a doctor will attend to her,” said Richa Sood, the principal.
“She intends to cross the English Channel and has been preparing hard. She would come out a winner,” said her father Brij Raj Singh, a mechanical engineer with a private company. She intends to complete 40 km before stopping, he added.
Her coach Mandeep Singh and head of department Surinder Chauhan said Singh had been practising for over a year and swam around 40 km three days back.
While the coach and principal said Singh was medically fit, a private medical practitioner issued a health certificate on the eve of her performance.
District chief medical officer AK Dhawan said the school authorities hadn’t informed the health department about the event. “This is a serious case involving a nine-year-old. Our department has not issued any permission nor received any communication about the event,” he said.
Sood said that RC Pal, an official with the district sports department, had inspected the site and will present a certificate after the event gets over around 9 pm. Pal, however, denied he would issue any certificate, as he is not authorised to do so.
District magistrate R Ramesh Kumar said he would direct administration officials to look into the matter and take proper action.