Free Press Journal

Double amputee swimmer Baidya passes away


Kolkata: India swimmer Masudur RahmanBaidya, the only man with amputated legs to cross the EnglishChannel in 1997, died this morning after a heart attack, according to family sources. The 46-year-old was not keeping well for a couple of days. He was suffering from vomiting and loose motion this morning as his family in Topsia rushed him to a nearby hospital.

“He had a major heart attack and doctors put him in ventilator. Doctors tried their best but he passed away within one hour,” his sister Monira Rahman told PTI. Masudur is survived by his mother, wife, and two daughters aged six years and three years.

A double amputee below the knee, who had conquered the English Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar in 2001 and the Palk Strait in July 2010, was very popular and Indian cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar was one of his admirers. The Indian icon had visited him in December last year while inaugurating Rabindra Swimming Pool and Anushilan Kendra at Lalkuti in Rajarhat.

Saluting Masudur’s feats, Tendulkar had said: “They are the real heroes and their life is like an inspiration to all of us” and he was seen inquiring about Baidya’s achievements of being the only man with amputated legs to cross the English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar.

Masudur’s story is more reel-like as he showed amazing dedication and perseverance to pursue swimming after being run over by a goods train at an age of nine. The accident meant his both legs had to be amputated and he spent one and half years in different hospitals and the boy from Ballavpur village of North 24 Parganas amazed everybody with his strong determination and grit.

His body would bend downward from below the waist in the water but he did not give up till he could swim. “It is absolutely possible for persons with physical disabilities to do things better than normal people. But youhave to be dedicated to your cause,” he had said.