Name: Brojen Das
Birth Date: 9th December, 1927
Birth Place: Munshiganj, Bangladesh
Brojen Das was the first Asian who swam across the English Channel, the strait between the Southern England and Northern France. Do you know that he was also the first athlete in the world who had crossed the English Channel for six times.
Brojen Das was born and brought up in Kuchiamora village of Munshiganj in Bangladesh. His father, Harendra Kumar Das, was a cement trading businessman who had 3 sons but no daughter. Brojen was at Munshiganj until completing his primary education in a native school. In his childhood, Brojen started swimming in his village river Dholeshory. Then when he shifted to Faridabad, Dhaka with his parents after completing his primary education, he used to swim in the turbulent water of Buriganga, his first training ground.
Brojen Das had his primary education in his native village at Munshiganj. Then he shifted to Dhaka with his family and completed his matriculation degree from the KL Jubilee High School, Dhaka in 1946. After that, he got admitted in Vidyasagar College, Kolkata and earned his Intermediate and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from there.
This legendary Olympic swimmer was the first Asian who swam across the English Channel in 1959. He also took part in a number of other marathon swims including Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli, which is still one of the longest professional marathon swimming competitions. Brojen set the outstanding record of crossing English Channel from France to England in just 10 hours 35 minutes in 1961 and crossed the channel in a total of 6 times, setting 2 world records. He was also awarded the prestigious King of the Channel in 1968.
As an honour to his great achievements, an international 10 kilometres open water swimming competition, from Teknaf to the beautiful Saint Martin Island in Bangladesh, has been recently named after him as Brojen Das Open Water Challenge in 2012.
- Awarded by Dhaka University (1956)
- Pride of Performance Award by the Pakistan Govt. (1960)
- Enlisted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (1965)
- National Sports Award, Bangladesh (1976)
- Letona Trophy from the Channel Swimming Association of UK (1986)
- Atish Dipankar Award
- Gold Medal by Kazi Mahabubullah Trust and Jahanara Jana Kalyan Trust
- Posthumous independence Day Award, Bangladesh (1999)
Brojen Das was unfortunately detected to have cancer on its final stage in June, 1997. One year later, he died on a clinic in Kolkata in 1st June, 1998. His dead body was brought back to Bangladesh with honour and funeral took place in Postogola, Dhaka cremation site on 3rd June, 1998.