HYDERABAD: At a time when the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) maintained swimming pools are all set to reopen for the summers, two swimming coaches working with the corporation and winners of accolades for the country, still stare at a bleak sporting culture.
Harjinder Singh and MA Saleem, two master-class swimmers have won multiple medals at the recently concluded Indo-Kazak swimming competition held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The swimmers won in 100m free-style, 100m backstroke, 50m free-style, 50m breaststroke, 50m backstroke, 4*50m medley relay, and 4*50m free-style events in the invitation-only competition.
“Though we did not get any financial assistance, we went there to have international exposure,” said Singh, who won Gold in the 100m breaststroke, adding that he practised for three hours for two months in the run-up to the competition.
“Our motive is to produce national level swimmers and for that, competing at the national stage is important as the challenges associated with it are different. Moreover, we get salaries only when the pools are open,” he added. The coaches, who are still in a temporary role of the GHMC, demand regularising of their employment so that they can give their full-time service, instead of looking at alternate employment sources. “Our achievement is reduced to nothing except for few felicitations,” said MA Saleem. Explaining the challenges of the competition, Singh said: “The penalty for missing the call to dive would have disqualified us, an important lesson we learnt.”
“The swimmers also had a height advantage of at least a feet over us that allowed them to have faster reach in all of the swimming strokes,” he added.
Last recruitment was done in 1977
For over 40 years now, the then MCH and now the GHMC has not conducted a formalised recruitment drive. The last time when 33 player-cum-coaches were recruited was in 1977.