India’s first-ever Olympic swimmer has passed away, as Shamsher Khan died of cardiac arrest on Sunday, October 15th at the age of 87. Khan represented India at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, where he competed in the men’s 200m butterfly event.
Speaking to The News Minute, Khan’s daughter-in-law, M Roushn, said that the swimmer was suffering from a heart condition already and ‘had complained of chest pain in the morning. Before we could reach the hospital, he passed away.’
Khan had reportedly learned the sport while swimming with buffalo in his village pond. In an interview last year, Khan reflected on the hardships surrounding his breakthrough Olympic appearance over 60 years ago, saying, “The Indian government sponsored my flight tickets to Melbourne. But for the rest of the expenses, I took a loan of Rs 300 for which the army deducted my salary for three months.”
He had served in the Indian army for approximately 24 years.