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Brojen Das

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Brogen Das

Brojen Das (Bengali: ব্রজেন দাস Brojen Daːsh) (9 December 1927 – 1 June, 1998) was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965 as an Honour Swimmer. He was the first Asian to swim across the English Channel when he succeeded in 1958. He crossed the English Channel a total of six times to become King of the Channel® from 1960 to 1974, setting four records in the process. He also held the record for the fastest crossing for three years and swam in the Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli. He met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, after his last channel crossing in 1961 and American President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 during his visit to America.

Early life

Das was born in the Kuchiamora village of Bikrampur, Munshiganj District in Bangladesh (then part of British India). After his primary education in his native village, he passed matriculation in 1946 from the KL Jubilee High School, Dhaka and received his Intermediate and Bachelor of Arts from Vidyasagar College, Kolkata.

Achievements

Local

  • Champion in 100 meter Freestyle swimming Competition in West Bengal in 1952.
  • Champion in East Pakistan in 100, 200, 400 & 1500 meter Freestyle swimming in 1953-1956.
  • Champion in Pakistan in 100 & 400 meter Freestyle Swimming in 1955.

International

  • Italy, July 1958, (placed 11th) in the 33 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli.
  • On 23 August 1958, he crossed the 33.5 km English Channel from France to England in 14 hours 52 minutes and won the men's competition in the Billy Butlin’s Channel Crossing Swimming Competition (39 swimmers from 23 nations).
  • On 27 August 1959, he crossed the 33.5 km English Channel from France to England in 13 hours 53 minutes in the Channel Crossing Swimming Competition.
  • On 22 September 1959, he crossed the 33.5 km English Channel from England to France in 13 hours 26 minutes.
  • On 27 August 1960, he crossed the 33.5 km English Channel from France to England in 14 hours 43 minutes.
  • On 8 September 1961, he crossed the 33.5 km English Channel from France to England in 11 hours 48 minutes.
  • On 21 September 1961, he crossed the 33.5 km English Channel from France to England in 10 hours 35 minutes to set the world record from France to England.

Awards

  • 1956: Awarded Dhaka University
  • 1960: Pride of Performance award from the Pakistan government.
  • 1965: Induction into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
  • 1986: Letona Trophy, i.e. King of the Channel from the Channel Swimming Association of the United Kingdom
  • 1976: National Sports Award, Bangladesh
  • 1999: Swadhinata Padak (Independence Award), Bangladesh (posthumous)
  • Atish Dipankar Medal
  • Gold Medal, Kazi Mahabubullah Trust and Jahanara Jana Kalyan trust

Death

Das died on 1 June 1998.

Namesake Race

There is an international 10 km open water swimming competition named after Das, Brojen Das Open Water Challenge 2012.

List of Kings of the Channel®

King of the Channel® - Letona Trophy Number of Crossings Years Held Title
Captain Matthew Webb 1 1875-1934
Edward Temme 2 1934-1951
William Barnie 3 1951-1960
Brojen Das 4-6 1960-1974
Melvyn Sharp 7 1974-1975
Des Renford 8-16 1975-1979
Michael Read 17-18 1979-1980
Des Renford 19 1980
Michael Read 20-31 1980-2000
Kevin Murphy 32 2000-2004
Michael Read 33 2004-2006
Kevin Murphy 34 2006-

External links