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BROJEN DAS 1927-1998

Brojen Das, country's illustrious swimmer who diedof cancer at a clinic in Calcutta Monday morning, was born in Kuchiamoravillage under Sirajdikhan thana of Munshiganj district on December 12, 1927.

Son of late Harendra Kumar Das, Brojen championed himself as a master swimmer in an inter-school competition in 1943-45 and inter-college competition in 1948-49, reports BSS.

Later in 1952, he became a champion in 100-metre freestyle in West Bengal. The sports lovers in the then Pakistan saw an emerging star in the sports arena when Brojen became champion in 100m, 200m, 400mand 1500m freestyle in 1953 in East Pakistan. He also became the Pakistanchampion in 100m and 200m freestyle, in 1955. In the same year, he becamea champion in 100, 200 and 400 yards of freestyle in the Pakistan inter-universitycompetition.

Brojen, who developed himself into a swimmer ofinternational repute by practising in the nearby river in his village homein his earlylife, accomplished with credit 12 miles and 26 miles swim inDhaka swimmingpooland also completed non-stop 48 hours swimming.

In international swimming competitions, Brojen Das earned credit by swimming 33 kms in Italy, secured the first position inthe 23-nation Bili Batlelans Channel swimming competition and became thefirst Asian to cross the English Channel in 1958.

In 1959, he succeeded in swimming from the Capri island to Naples in Italy, and English to France. The next year he crossed the France-England Channel again.

In 1961, Brojen Das earned glory and fame for the nation when he created three World records in channel swimming to put his name in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Not only did he cross the English Channel in record time, he crossed it six times and created two world records on the same day. Earlier in 1959, he succeeded in three long-distance international swimming competitions.

Brojen Das, who was respectfully regarded as "Brojenda" by his near and dear ones, got the "pride of performance" award in 1959 from the Pakistan government and earned the trophy of "king of channel" from the Channel Swimming Association of the United Kingdom in 1986. Bangladesh government gave him the national award in 1976 for his valuable contribution in thefield of sports and games.

He also got Dhaka University 'blue' in 1956. Later, he got Atish Dipankar award, Kazi Mahbubullah award, Jahanara Welfare Trust gold medal and Bangladesh Sports Journalist Association award.

Brojen Das became a life-member of Channel Swimming Association (UK), vice-president of World Long Distance Swimming Association, secretary general of Bangladesh Swimming Federation, life-member of Royal Life Saving Society, president of Finlay Swimming Club (UK), life-memberof Indian Life Saving Society and Central Swimming Club of India and Honorary life member of Dhaka University Club.

Besides, he was actively involved in various socio-cultural organisations.

He will be sadly missed and mourned by of his countless proteges.



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