The first ever Olympian swimmer of India, Mehboob Shamsher Khan, died of a cardiac arrest in his native district Guntur of Andhra Pradesh on 15th of October.
In 1956, when India was performing very poor in swimming, Shamsher ji had become a national legend after finishing in the 5th place in the Australia Summer Olympics. Prior to that, he had registered his name in many national records in swimming.
In 1946, Khan was recruited into the Indian Army at the age of 16 and got into Bangalore’s Madras Engineer Group, he served the nation in two wars against Pakistan and China. This was the right time and right platform for him to showcase his talent in swimming.
Khan was a village boy and would take buffalos and cows to a nearby pond to give them a bath. From here he stared learning natural tips of swimming and received proper training in the army. He professionally competed in Mysore in 1949.
It came as a surprise to him, when the Government of India sponsored only the airbase to Australia. He took a loan of Rs.300 from the army for his expenses. He participated in both 200 meter butterfly and 200-meter breaststroke events. He secured 5th position which was a remarkable success for the country. This remains still a record in the country as no other Indian swimmer has ever secured as high rank as he did. This is very sad that he lost in the glory clouds of Milkha Singh who won a medal for India.
Khan died in Kythapalli village of Andhra Pradesh this week. TheYouth team pays tributes to this legend. He will remain alive in our hearts.