An international student from India was among the impressive performers at the Harbour Bridge Swimming Challenge held in Auckland on December 7, 2014.
Falak Patel was placed at 532 on the overall ranking list, which included 1551 swimmers.
He however did better in the age category (25-29 years Male) at 19.
Falak returned to the ‘Casual Competitive Swimming Event’ after a gap of more than five years and had only three weeks to train and be prepared.
“The greatest challenge was coping with unfamiliar territories. The results were disappointing but I consider the competition a great learning experience. I am motivated to continue training, build endurance and look forward to the next competition,” he said.
“I will cherish the ten-day intensive training and coaching camp which I attended to participate in this 21-nautical miles event. Each day involved about seven hours swimming in the sea to ensure we were all physically fit,” he added.
Falak is currently attending Level 7 IT Diploma course at an Auckland based Institute. He is a postgraduate (MCA) in Computer Applications from Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu and a graduate (BA) in Science from Surat.
Born and raised in a modest family (his father Sudhir Kumar Patel is a civil engineer at the Surat Municipal Corporation in Gujarat, while mother, an Arts graduate is a homemaker), Falak was a keen swimmer from his formative years, while his younger Brother Jigar is pursuing a degree course in Bachelor of Technology.
Falak attributes his rising career as a sprinter to ‘excellent parental care and unconditional support of his family.’
It was while swimming at a local pool in his hometown that Falak (he was 13 years old then) came under the observation of Coach Paresh Sarang.
The next eight years witnessed the young man achieving proficiency in the sport. His training involved three to four hours of swimming in the Tapti River, riding on the bicycle for 40 kms and running for 20 kms.
A national level athlete with Swimming and Triathlon strengths, Falak has earned several citations, certificates, medals and prizes over the past ten years.
These include a Gold medal in Ocean swimming (21 nautical miles in 05:04:16 hours) at a State-Government organised event along the coast of the Arabian Sea from Veraval to Chorwad in Gujarat and the 17th National Senior Triathlon Championship held at Visakhapatnam (Andhra). He also has a number of inter-university tournaments and Open Sea swimming competitions to his credit.
Falak takes to water like a fish but his current focus is on his career in Information Technology.
“However, sporting opportunities and sporting events in Auckland are overwhelming, and therefore tempting,” he said.