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12-Year-Old Mumbai Girl with Autism Sets Record by Swimming 36 Km to Gateway of India in 8 Hours

Jiya Rai, 12, has just set history as youngest person with autism to swim 36 km in the open sea | Image credit: Twitter

Jiya Rai, 12, has just set history as youngest person with autism to swim 36 km in the open sea | Image credit: Twitter

12-year-old Jiya Rai, daughter of an Indian Navy sailor, set the record for the youngest person with autism to swim over 14 km in high seas by completing 36 km in 8 hours in the Arabian Sea.

A 12-year-old Maharashtra girl with autism just became an inspiration to persons with disabilities across the world after she successfully swam across the Arabian Sea from Bandra-Worli Sea Link to Gateway of India in Mumbai.

Jiya Rai, the daughter of naval sailor Madan Rai, created history she swam to the Gateway of India, covering a distance of 36 km in hours and 40 minutes. Rai, who set history with her efforts, swam across the Arabian Sea in order to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a condition with which she herself lives.

Rai achieved the feat on Wednesday and videos of the incident have been going viral on the internet with many lauding Rai for her efforts. Rai was felicitated by the President of Greater Mumbai Amateur Aquatic Association Zarir N. Baliwala following the record.

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"This is a new world record as last year, she set a record by becoming the youngest girl with ASD to swim 14 km in the open sea," an official present at the event was reported saying by The Tribune.

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This, however, is not Rai's first claim to fame. Earlier, Rai had broken yet another record when she had swum 14 km from Gateway of India to the Elephanta Caves in February last year, becoming the youngest person with ASD to do the same.

ASD is a neurological and developmental disorder that that affects people at a young age and continues for all of their lifetimes. One of its impacts is the impairment of communication and cognitive skills.

A study conducted by Anjali K Kapoor, founder of Puzzle Ribbons, a charity dedicated to ASD, found that despite high prevalence, the number of people who were aware of ASD was much lower than that in the United. While nearly 100 percent of Americans who responded to Kapoor's survey were aware of what autism was, a little under 13 percent of Indians were aware of ASD.