Bangladesh pays tribute to swimming hero Arun Nandi

November 18th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 18 (IANS) Bangladeshi swimming hero Arun Nandi, who set a record by swimming for 90 hours in a Kolkata lake in 1971, has died at age 68. A leading daily has paid tributes to him and said his feat had drawn world attention to the country’s freedom movement that year.The Daily Star newspaper, in an editorial Tuesday, said the legendary swimmer has left behind “the glorious saga of a man’s unflinching determination to endure any ordeal to uphold the cause of his nation”.

“We are proud of Nandi’s incredible feat as a great swimmer which was but a powerful statement on patriotism made through the medium of a sport,” it added.

Leaders of the provisional government of Bangladesh had joined the Kolkatans in applauding Nandi as he swam.

“He endured the pangs of swimming more than 90 hours in a Calcutta (now Kolkata) lake in 1971, to draw the world’s attention to the undaunted struggle for freedom we had then waged. His idea was phenomenal, and as it appealed to the leaders of the Bangladesh government in exile as well as the many eminent citizens of Calcutta, they all came to converge on the site to cheer him up during the epical swimming feat.

“In the process, he broke the world record in endurance swimming set by American swimmer B.C. Moore. As a long distance swimmer, he once covered 110 kilometers!” the newspaper recalled.

The best way to pay respect to Nandi was “to make sincere and concerted efforts to fulfil his dream of turning Bangladesh into a nation of ace swimmers,” the editorial said.

Nandi died at his sister’s residence in Kolkata Sunday. He had gone to the West Bengal capital Nov 3 for treatment of diabetes and kidney disease, Bangladesh’s UNB news agency said.

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