SEPANG, Sept 23 – The solo swimmer of the 1Malaysia English Straits Solidarity Swim expedition (RPSI1M), Estino Taniyu, 24, who swam across the straits on Friday dedicated his success to all Malaysians.
He said he was grateful and happy for accomplishing the mission, adding that the words “tired and surrender” had never crossed his mind throughout the expedition although he had to go through numerous obstacles such as the cold water, strong current and passing ships.
“I continued the swim because the mission was not an individual one. The mission was for the country. I also did not think about being tired then. I just swam with one objective,” he said when met shortly after arriving at the KL International Airport (KLIA), here today.
Estino, who is a Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) personnel from Semporna, Sabah, completed the swim in a time of 13 hours, 45 minutes and 45 seconds. He is the second swimmer from Malaysia to have conquered the English Straits for the cageless category after Lennard Lee in 2004.
Besides Estino, the swimming team for the relay category comprising Mohd Roslan Mohd Zawawi, Mohd Khairul Faizal Mazli, Mohd Salleh Mahmor, Buranurdin Sali, Sharizal Omar and Mohd Zulfadhli Mahamad, also members of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), succeeded in crossing the straits in a time of 14 hours and 30 minutes.
The expedition was under the sponsorship of Kelab Eksplorasi 7 Benua Malaysia and under the patronage of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Estino, a Sea Bajau, said he had been swimming from small and had frequently followed his fisherman father to sea. In fact, he had once worked as a part-time fisherman after leaving school.
He said the experience had helped him to prepare himself in terms of the physical and mental aspects for the swimming expedition.
He had also postponed his wedding in order to give full commitment to the mission, and his fiancee had also given her support to fulfill the mission.
One of the relay swimmers, Sharizal, 31, hoped that the success would inspire other Malaysians in proving that Malaysians too were capable of swimming across the challenging straits.
“After this, there may be others who are better and could join such a mission,” said Shahrizal, who is a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) personnel based in Jugra, Banting, Selangor.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Datuk Akmar Hisham Mokhles said the Prime Minister was very happy when informed of the success because the last time such a feat was achieved was in 2004.
He said what was of greater significance was that the two achievements were made simultaneously, referring to the solo swim and the relay swim by six swimmers that had never been made by any team in Malaysia previously.
“We hope that in future we can again send Malaysians through the Kelab Eksplorasi 7 Benua to perform such missions with the hope we can ahieve a better time,” he said.