Waiheke Island to Auckland, Mechanics Bay
Date of swim, March 2019
Distance, 21 km
Time, 5hours 40mins
Kayaker / Observer, Gregory Dunning
Please tell us something unique about your achievement. Tell your story
I came to NZ as an 18-year-old asylum seeker from my hometown of Kabul in Afghanistan. I am a survivor of the polio virus. I was affected by it when I was a small toddler. which means that I have limited muscles in my legs I love a challenge so in 2014 I took up swimming. It seemed like an unlikely match as I didn't grow up surrounded by the ocean or learnt to swim at school and I have limited leg movement. However, I undertook swimming lessons at the local pool where I use a band to tie my ankles together while swimming. I have a passion for a challenge and I believe that my story and determination has given me a unique position in which I am able to raise significant sums of money for philanthropic purposes.
I'm pretty sure that with both these events I am the only one that uses only my arms to complete the swims.
How did your life change following your achievement(s)?
I have become an official swim junkie and being involved in these events has been a highlight in my life urging me into greater events.