Remember the little 8 year old girl Zhang Huimin whose father made her run from Sanya, Hainan all the way to Beijing, wearing out 20 pairs of shoes and covering a staggering 3,560 km in 55 days? This time, another girl, Huang Li (黄澧), 10 years old, had her hands and feet bound by her father before being thrown to swim in the chilly waters of the Xiangjiang River (湘江) for 3 hours. Apparently, her father is training her to swim across the English Channel.
Deflecting widespread criticism, the 45 year old father Huang Daosheng (黄道升) said:
“It’s not dangerous because, first, her swimming skills are really good and second, I was swimming with her, staying close to her. I had her when I was 35, so she is my heart. I would never play around with her life.”
The girl herself had also told journalists that apart from the slightly chilly waters, her training was bearable. She also wasn’t afraid of drowning but only of the “water demons” (水鬼).
Alas, she may not fulfill her (father’s) dreams of swimming across the English Channel because current regulations require swimmers to be at least 16 years old for a solo Channel attempt, and it is unlikely that the rules will be bent for her sake.
Alison Streeter, “Queen of the Channel” with 43 crossings below her belt, known as the Queen of the Channel says:
“I shudder to think about the old days, making kids do stuff like that. Some swimmers were being pushed into it. Some parents had been on the beach actually throwing stones on the kids to keep them in the water. A Channel swim is hard enough. When a child is involved, it’s just unnecessary. The Channel will still be there when they’re 16. The biggest problem is how cold it is. As you hit the six or seven-hour mark, that’s when it starts to take its toll. If you’re a young kid, you haven’t got the extra fat and resistance.”
More pictures after the jump.
Rednet.cn: 10岁女孩捆住手脚游湘江3小时 市民质疑其父母太残酷
The Times: Little Dolphin, the ten-year-old girl bound (hand and foot) for glory