Updated: September 7, 2017 6:06:18 pm
A 13-year-old boy, who went to Sri Lanka to participate in an Under-17 club cricket tournament, drowned in the swimming pool of Villa Palma beach resort at Negambo near Colombo. Family members of Narendra Sodha left for Mumbai this afternoon to receive the body of their son.
Narendra was a resident of Godadara area in Surat and was a class 7 student in RMG Maheshwari english medium school. He was training at the Maitri cricket coaching academy, which took the team to Sri Lanka.
The second of three children, Narendra’s father Mansingh Sodha runs a textile trading firm. So interested was he in the sport that his parents admitted him to the centre so that he could get professional guidance. His above par batting skills caught the attention of the coaches at the centre.
Rashid Zirak, who runs Maitri cricket coaching academy, took 18 players including Narendra, on an India FC XI Tour to Sri Lanka. They were participating in an Under-17 cricket club tournament that began on September 3 and were due to return on September 10. The team was residing at Villa Palma beach resort.
“We saw a bright future for Narendra… we paid the fees and tour expenses. Narendra called me and spoke to me about the new place and his experience during the tour. We spoke twice and the last time I spoke to him was on Tuesday evening at 5.00 pm, when he told me that he is enjoying the tour and had played two games and scored well. Two hours later, at 7.00 pm, I received a call from their coach Rashid Zirak that my son died due to drowning in the resort’s swimming pool.
“We have lost our child… Narendra was brilliant in studies and sports and he was very much close to us among our three children. We are deeply pained and there nothing more we can say.”
Indian Embassy officials in Sri Lanka have made arrangements to send the body to Mumbai.
A family member said the body will reach Mumbai Friday morning. “We have come to know that the body of Narendra will be brought to India via flight on Friday early morning at 2.00 am. We have started making arrangements to bring the body in an ambulance, from Mumbai. Rashid and other remaining players will also return back to Surat in the same flight with the body.”
Shrikant Patil , the Vice Principal of RMG Maheshwari School said he was not aware that the child was on a cricket tour. “He was not coming to school since September 3, and had not taken leave. We had sent messages to the parents after he was found absent but they did not responded. He was a brilliant student and was also a good batsman. We have come to know about his demise this morning.”
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