Posted on: April 26, 2015

Swimmer Masadur Rahman dies of multi-organ failure

By Supriyo Das

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Swimmer Masadur Rahman dies of multi-organ failure

Kolkata, April 26 (IANS) Indian double-leg-amputee swimmer Masudur Rahman Baidya, who created a sensation by crossing the English Channel 18 years ago, died on Sunday in a city hospital after multi-organ failure, his close associates said. He was 46.

Masadur is survived by his mother, wife and two daughters.

A patient of acute diabetes having high blood sugar, he was hospitalised on Sunday morning as his haemoglobin count had dipped and he also developed other health issues. His condition deteriorated some time after his admission, and the swimmer was put on ventilator, but passed away soon after.

Masadur had become the first male double-amputee below the knee to cross the English Channel in 1997, a feat that got him worldwide attention and he virtually became a hero in this part of the world.

Later, he conquered the Strait of Gibraltar in 2001 and the Palk Strait in July 2010.

Masadur, who hailed from Ballabhpur village in North 24 Parganas district, lost both his legs from the knee at the age of nine when he was run over by a goods train, but his passion for swimming and the zeal to do something that would make the world take notice kept intact his indomitable spirit.

He said late last year that, given a chance, even athletes with physical deformities can deliver at the world stage.

"We are a part of society, given the responsibility we can deliver too just like we are doing at the various disabled games," Masadur had told IANS in December.

But he had also regretted that India seemed to understand only cricket, cinema and politics.

"My case study has been featured in books, people can read about me and be inspired, but India only understands cricket, cinema and politics," he had said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee expressed her grief at the death of the swimmer.

"Saddened to hear about passing away of India & Bengal swimming champion Masudur Rahman Baidya. He was just 46. Condolences to family members," she tweeted.

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