NEW DELHI, Apr 11: Roshan Abeysundara, an Airman of the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF), set a new Asian record by swimming 59.3 kilometres (Km) across the Palk Strait from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka to Dhanuskodi in India in 28 hours, 19 minutes, and 43 seconds on Saturday. With this feat, he enters the Guinness Book of World Records by breaking a 50-year-old swimming record set by his fellow countryman V.S. Kumar Anandan in 1971. He also joins Kumar Anandan who had performed this one-of-a-kind feat of swimming back to the Island. Previously, 14 swimmers have crossed one-way in the Palk Strait. On Sunday he returned to Sri Lanka.
According to the Indian High Commission in Colombo, the event was flagged off in the presence of Archana Ramesh, Consul (Admin/DDO) from the Consulate General of India in Jaffna, and Air Cmde SN Fernandopulle, Director Sports from the Sri Lanka Air Force. On the Indian side, the High Commission facilitated all possible arrangements.
Prior to the departure for Mannar a day earlier on 9, April 2021 he had called on the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana. The Commander gave him words of encouragement and also presented him with a thermal swimming kit to assist him during the record-breaking attempt.
Abeysundara previously had set a record by swimming 25Km distance from Matara to Koggala in 10 hours and 37 minutes on January 3, 2021, and then went on to renew the record by swimming a 49Km distance from Matara to Hikkaduwa and back to Unawatuna in 23 hours and 10 minutes on February 27, 2021.
According to a press release from the Sri Lanka Air Force, Abeysundara is a Level III swimming instructor who is a member of the American Swimming Coaches Association and has received instruction from the legendary Julian Bolling. He is a seasoned lifeguard with a Level II certification from Sri Lanka Life Saving.