Lifesaving World Championships 2024

India to send largest-ever team to LWC 2024

India is poised to send it’s largest-ever team to the Lifesaving World Championships, and they do so as a nation which is proud of where it has come from in the field of water safety while knowing there is still a long way to go. 

Rear Admiral Purushottam Dutt Sharma, AVSM, NM (Retd.), a distinguished veteran of the Indian Navy, has committed his life to saving lives both on land and in water.

In 1993, following his extensive naval career, Rear Admiral Sharma chose to embark on a different mission – one of saving lives through prevention and education.

Relocating to Pune with his wife Mrs Kavita Sharma, he co-founded the Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India) in 1998.

Since then, he has steered the organisation to prominence, solidifying its status as a Strategic Partner of SLSA and a full member of the International Life Saving Federation.

As the Ambassador of the Lifesaving World Championships 2024, Rear Admiral Sharma embodies the spirit of resilience, courage and service. In his presence, the championship gains not just an ambassador, but a guiding light whose legacy is etched in the very fabric of saving lives.

Ahead of LWC 2024, we caught up with Rear Admiral Sharma to discuss the impact and importance of the event on a global scale, particularly in nations such as India.

A lot of people will look at LWC 2024 for the sport, however in a country like India, drowning prevention is a big focus. How important are events like the World Championships to bring global experts together? 

“Lifesaving Sports have come a long way to popularise and promote the “Lifesaving Movement” across the Globe. For us it is learning lesson every time we take part in an international lifesaving sport event, so it will be at LWC 24.”

You’ve had an impact in your home country as well as internationally for a long time now. Is there still a lot to do in the lifesaving space, and how can more be done?

“Kindly consider our slogans: ‘Add value to life in the country‘, ‘Erase the international stigma that life is cheap in India‘, ‘Train a lifesaver in every home‘.

“The Society launched a Lifesaving Bus Project to address the Villages of India, where 70% of our country lives. Eventually, every State and Union Territory should have buses going from village to village to empower the youth there with lifesaving skills.

“India’s casualty figures in land accidents including those on our roads and drowning are estimated to be as high as half a million every year. If any internationanal body wishes to support a just cause, this project is eminently deserving.”

What are you looking forward to most about LWC 2024?

“Participation and winning medals besides learning and sharing with the best lifesavers in the world. RLSS (India) is hoping to send the largest-ever contingent of athletes to LWC 2024.

“The selection camp is over and we are now arranging a training camp for the selected athletes.”

What does it mean to be named as ambassadors for LWC 2024?

“An honour and responsibility considering that we shall represent the most populace and as of now perhaps the most popular country under the current leadership in the world.”