LONDON: Abdul Malik Mydin is on course to be the first Malaysian to swim the English Channel after about 15 hours in the water with the winds and tide moving in his favour.
At press time yesterday, Malik, 28, is slightly more than a nautical mile from Cap Gris Nez, the nearest point on the French coast, some 19 nautical miles away.
He is a strong lad and will make it. Right now we are going to give him a mental nudge, Mike Oram, the boats skipper, told The Star on his mobile phone.
On how long more Malik would need to reach Cap Gris Nez, near Calais, Oram said about three or four hours, slightly less than the 18 hours he was expected to take to swim the distance.
Hes really looking forward to this day, said John van Wisse, Maliks Australian coach, at the hotel.
Shouts of encouragement rang out as Malik, who emerged from his hotel at 1am (8am Malaysian time), shook hands with some of the 20 Malaysian well-wishers, who had travelled from London, to cheer him on.
At 2.08am (9.08am Malaysian time), Malik began his epic swim.
The forecast was for a spring tide of about 6.2m and wind conditions about five knots though the water temperature was a cold 16°C in sunny weather.
On why the early morning start for the swim, van Wisse said there was a psychological consideration as swimming in the dark would benefit Malik.
A swimmer, he said, would be distracted if he could see the shore and buildings on the English side after two or three hours as this might work on the mind that not much progress had been made.
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