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Marathon Death In India

Oct 1, 2008  - Craig Lord

Open water swimming has suffered its first death in competition since the 10km event was officially recognised as the "marathon" in readiness for its introduction to the Olympic Games.

Shampa Das, of India, was reported to have died of a stroke while competing  this week in the 10km Long Distance Invitational Swimming cChampionship in the Hooghly River, a 260km distributary of the Ganges River in West Bengal.

The 23-year-old had completed 9km when she suffered a seizure, according to the secretary of Bengal Amateur Swimming Association Ramanuj Mukhopadhyay. She was attended to by a doctor on the rescue boat that followed the swimmers but was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in Chandernagore.

The race began at the Jagannath Ghat in Hooghly, while the finishing point was at the College Ghat in Chandernagore.

A former coach of the swimmer, Biswajit Ghosh, was quoted widely in India as saying: "I have never seen her develop any complication. It's really sad, we have lost a talented swimmer. We are all awaiting the post-mortem report. She was from a very poor family with just mother around. She had lost her father at a very early age."