Arun Nandi no more | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 17, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 17, 2008

Arun Nandi no more


Country lost a sporting legend and freedom fighter when renowned swimmer Arun Nandi breathed his last in Kolkata yesterday, just ten days before what would have been his 67th birthday.
The champion long-distance swimmer, a bachelor, had been suffering from diabetes, kidney and various diseases and went to India for treatment. He died at his sister's residence in the morning.
Although the former Bangladesh Swimming Federation (BSF) vice-president was famous for his long-distance activities in water, he would be most remembered for his valiant effort to raise fund and create public opinion for the country's Liberation War in 1971.
He did not take part in the Liberation War actively but to support the freedom fighters, he organised an enduring swimming session in Kolkata where he swum non-stop for 90 hours and five minutes from October 12-15 at the Lake Square in Boubazar. It was a then world record for being longest time in water.
Arun, who was born in Bagadi village of Chandpur district on November 26, 1941, began swimming at young age and ruled the district level swimming in the late 1950s.
He emerged champion in the Chaumuhani College swimming competition in 1962 and three years later, finished second in the Narayanganj-Chandpur long-distance swimming competition organised by the Channel Crossing Committee. He followed it up with another second-place finish in the Daudkandi-Narayanganj (32 kilometres) race in the 1965-66.
Arun Nandi, who won the highest sports award in the country in 1996 -- the National Sports Award -- also won BSJA award and other accolades in his illustrious career as sportsman and organiser.
He founded the Arun Nandi Swimming Club to groom young swimmers in his hometown Chandpur and was vice-president of the BSF from 2003-06. He served as a member of the federation in 2006-07 but lost in last month's executive committee election.
Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) and BSF will jointly take necessary steps to bring the dead body of Arun home.
BOA president and Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed, BOA secretary general Kutubuddin Ahmed and other officials, BSF president and Naval Chief Vice Admiral Sarwar Jahan Nizam, National Sports Council, different sports federations, Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association, Bangladesh Sports Writers Association and Bangladesh Sports Journalists and Writers Community condoled the death of Arun and prayed for the salvation of the departed soul.
Our Chandpur correspondent adds: Local hero Arun Nandi left for Kolkata on November 3 for treatment but the news of his sudden death in the West Bengal capital cast a pall of gloom in Chandpur.
To honour the swimmer, the people of Chandpur named the district swimming pool after him. Although neglected time and again by different governments, Arun was fortunate to inaugurate the international standard swimming pool last year as chief guest.

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