Kolkata: Disabled swimmer Masudur Rahman Baidya, a double amputee below the knee who conquered the English Channel, on Thursday found an admirer in none other than Indian sporting icon Sachin Tendulkar.
"They are the real heroes and their life is like an inspiration to all of us," Tendulkar, overwhelmed by Baidya's achievements, said.
Tendulkar was in the city for a private function.
Tendulkar also inquired about Baidya's achievement of being the only man with amputated legs to cross the English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar.
Tendulkar also inaugurated Rabindra Swimming Pool and Anushilan Kendra at Lalkuti in Rajarhat and was felicitated by the Rajarhat-Gopalpur Municipality chairman Tapas Chatterjee.
Tendulkar who has more than 34,000 international runs was felicitated with a gigantic garland with 34,000 roses and was given a golden crown by the chairman.
"My association with the city dates back to 1990 when I had come here as a cricketer. I still see the same passion among the people here, I love this place and have really fond memories here," he said in his address.
After being run over by a goods train at the age of nine, the boy from Ballavpur village of North 24 Parganas has amazed everybody with his strong determination and grit.
The accident meant his both legs had to be amputated and he spent one and half years in different hospitals. His body would bend downward from below the waist in the water but he did not give up till he could swim.
"It is absolutely possible for persons with physical disabilities to do things better than normal people. But you have to be dedicated to your cause," the 45-year-old Baidya said.