Chennai

Champion swimmer Balakrishnan dies in road accident

Balakrishnan represented country in CWG, Asian Games

M.B. Balakrishnan, 29, a swimmer who represented the country in the Commonwealth and Asian Games, died in a road mishap near Arumbakkam on Tuesday.

According to the police, Balakrishnan was riding a two-wheeler from Koyambedu towards Shenoy Nagar, with his friend from the US riding pillion.

“A concrete mixer lorry was in front of them. The signal turned green and when the two vehicles were 60 m away from the signal, Balakrishnan, who was on the left, tried to go towards the right, and in the process, his bike hit the lorry,” said K. Hari, Tirumangalam traffic investigation inspector.

Balakrishnan’s vehicle skid, he fell on the right, and came under the front wheel of the lorry. He died on the spot. The pillion rider fell on the right and escaped with minor injuries. “The lorry driver, Subramaniam, tried to apply the brakes, but by then the swimmer had come under the wheels of the lorry,” said a police officer.

The police registered a case and have detained the lorry driver. “Balakrishnan pursued his higher education in the US and was working there. He had come to Chennai a few days ago,” said the inspector.

Accomplished swimmer

Balakrishnan was an accomplished swimmer. He rewrote the national record in 50 m backstroke in July 2010 in the Senior National Championships in New Delhi. He won the 100 m and 200 m backstroke events in the South Asian Games the same year, with record timings. He also won the National Games gold in Guwahati in 2007. He took part in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in 2010. Weeks before the 2010 CWG, he was attacked by a group, which many suspected to be his swimming rivals. Despite that, he took part in the CWG and the Asian Games.

“He was a role model for Tamil Nadu swimmers. He was a born talent, and he was well supported by his parents. If not for that incident [in 2010], he would have possibly won a medal in the CWG,” said T. Chandrasekaran, Balakrishnan's coach.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:19:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/champion-swimmer-dies-in-road-accident/article27142523.ece

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