CHENNAI: There won’t be many surprises with regards to the Swimming Federation of India’s (SFI) elections that will happen here on May 17 as all candidates will likely be unanimously elected. The nominations were accepted by returning officer Justice Pramod V Kamat (Retd). Tamil Nadu’s RN Jayaprakash will be replacing DV Kamat as president, Chokshi Monal D of Gujarat will take over from Kamlesh D Nanavati as general secretary while Mekala Ramakrishna will retain his place as treasurer. Five vice presidents and four joint secretaries will also be announced with Kamlesh set to be one of the former.
However, the general body meeting scheduled on the same day is something to look forward to. Apart from announcing dates and venue for senior nationals and the 2019 calendar — which includes plans for a new event called the Federation Cup for seniors — the main topic will be about the Asian Age-Group Swimming Championships to be held in Bengaluru.
“Around 35 countries are expected to participate in the Asian Age-Group Championships in swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming. Most of the preparations have been done,” a top SFI source said.
“Swimming and diving will be an open event and athletes above 18 years can participate. Since the Asian Championships happen every four years, the federation took the decision to include two open categories.”
According to the source, this will be the fourth international swimming event that the country will be hosting and the first one since 1999. The Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence in Yelahanka, Bengaluru will be the venue. It will be held from September 24-October 2.
“The Asia Swimming Federation secretary will visit India in the coming days to check if the venue requires any upgrades. But even if there are changes to make, we have almost four months.”
While India is not known for swimming medals at the international level, the near misses of athletes like Virdhawal Khade and Sajan Prakash at the Asian Games in Jakarta suggests there has been an improvement. And to take it to the next level, the SFI is also planning to rope in a foreign coach to support national coach Pradeep Kumar.