ALAPPUZHA: T D Baburaj, a differently-abled native of Kuttanad has bagged the Asian record in marathon swimming. The 51-year-old set the record after he swam 10 km in Vembanad lake from Kumarakom to Muhamma. The Universal Record Forum (URF), Asian Records, has declared his record in marathon swimming set on August 18, 2015. He swam in the widest part of the lake in three hours and set a record in the disability category. Baburaj, Thayyil house, Kainakari, is an LIC agent. His determination and diligence trumped other factors and spurred him on to set the record.
He launched his swimming career in school. About 25 years ago in Patiala, he won a bronze at the national level in the general category. At the age of 12, he met with an accident and as a consequence, lost strength in his left hand below the elbow. That didnt put a damper on his dreams. “With that hand, I participated in many national and international events,” Baburaj said. As per medical records, he has contested in the disabled category with 40 per cent disability.
Baburaj said that he practised hard to participate in the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation(IWASF) international swimming event which was held at Russia, last September.
“IWASF invited me to take part in the competition. Swimming across the Vembanad lake was part of the fund raising of the programme.
But unfortunately, internal injuries in the right hand muscle prevented me from participating. The doctors have recommended three months’ rest and by January and I hope to begin practice again,” Baburaj said. His son Sivashankar attached with the Indian Navy, is an international athlete in canoeing and kayaking and daughter Uma Shankar is a swimmer.