Tributes following death of swimming coach
‘Spike’ suffered diabetic attack
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