Tributes fol­low­ing death of swim­ming coach

‘Spike’ suf­fered di­a­betic at­tack

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By 7DAYS News Team @7DAYSUAE

Tributes have been paid to a for­mer Olympic swim­mer who is be­lieved to have died from a di­a­betic at­tack.

Chis­ela Kanchela, 29, died on Novem­ber 6, his em­ployer, Dubai-based Speedo Swim Squads, said yes­ter­day.

The Zam­bian na­tional com­peted in the Athens Olympics in 2004 be­fore go­ing on to be an ac­com­plished coach.

He had moved to Dubai to work for Speedo.

One mum, whose son trained with Kanchela, was among those at his fu­neral in Jebel Ali yes­ter­day.

She said: “He had only started in Septem­ber but had made an im­pres­sion on my son.

“In the short time we had known Chis­ela, he was a great teacher, full of en­thu­si­asm, a pos­i­tive role model for the kids and he will be missed.

“From what we can tell it sounds like he had un­di­ag­nosed di­a­betes and had some sort of at­tack. We’re all quite cut up about it, es­pe­cially my son.”

Nel­son Ki­tuuka, a mem­ber of the coach’s for­mer team, Seals Swim Club Kampala, said: “Spike, as we called him, was a like­able char­ac­ter who min­gled freely with par­ents and chil­dren eas­ily. His most en­dur­ing trait was his abil­ity to win the con­fi­dence of young swim­mers and thus he was able to in­tro­duce num

ber of swim­mers to the pool and teach them how to swim ef­fec­tively.

“He was train­ing a school in Tan­za­nia prior to mov­ing to Dubai.”

The man­ager at Speedo, Lesley, said that Kanchela’s con­di­tion was un­di­ag­nosed and he passed away “sud­denly”.

She said di­a­betic ke­toaci­do­sis and sep­tic shock was re­ported as the cause of death in his med­i­cal re­ports.

She added: “He was a fan­tas­tic swim­mer.

“There was no in­for­ma­tion about him hav­ing di­a­betes. He felt tired but that was all. So, this was a shock.

“He was very well­liked and was a great coach. He was a kind per­son.”

Tributes also poured in from the school in Zam­bia where he used to coach and was fondly known as ‘Spike’. One of the posts said: “Let us learn that this ill­ness is re­lent­less in those it touches, in­clud­ing the fit, young and healthy.”

An­other post said: “Words may not suf­fice to ex­press the heart­felt sor­row that we feel for the pass­ing of our brother. We know that it is hard to bear right now but re­mem­ber that death is only the end of the phys­i­cal life and the be­gin­ning of an eter­nal life.”

WILL BE MISSED: Chis­ela Kanchela with a young swim­mer in Zam­bia

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