CHENNAI: The tragic passing of swimmer MB Balakrishnan on Wednesday came as a shock to his former coach T Chandrasekaran, also the secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Aquatic Association.
The 29-year-old lost his life after a lorry ran over him at EVR Salai in Arumbakkam on Wednesday. Chandrasekaran fondly remembered the first day he met Balakrishnan. “He was just nine (when I started training him). He was a good kid. His parents were both doctors. However, he was very humble and never caused any problems,” Chandrasekaran said.
Balakrishnan got a medical seat through sports quota, but took up engineering instead to concentrate more on swimming.
His efforts bore fruit when he was selected to represent India at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. However, he was involved in a fight outside his house before the competition and was not able to give his all. But Chandrasekaran said that Balakrishnan was always friendly with everyone, even in training. “He was a natural swimmer and everyone liked him. What happened in 2010 was unfortunate. He was at his peak then and could have won a medal if not for the injury.”
The former 50m national record holder, however, made up for that by winning gold in the 50m backstroke and silver in the 100m backstroke event in the 11th South Asian Games in Dhaka in 2010. The swimmer, who was working at a software company in USA, had only come back to India recently.