BENGALURU: India swimmer SP Likith is a disappointed man with the way the recently concluded Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championships was conducted in Tashkent. He has alleged that the organisers manipulated timings of the local swimmers to suit qualification timings of Tokyo Olympics, and has hence urged the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to look into the matter.
"I request all the other swimmers and FINA to launch an investigation and take action against those involved in this,” Likith said in a YouTube video on Wednesday. The swimmer seems to have a problem with primarily two events in the competition — 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly heats.
"… 100m freestyle on Day 1 where Aleksey Tarasenko (of Uzbekistan) swam 51s in the heats, but it was changed to 48.55 and given 'A' cut for the Olympics. They did not display the time on the board. They had shut it off. The same thing repeated on final day, but on a larger scale, butterfly event. Sajan Prakash (from India) finished first with 54s in heats. But once results came out, it was quite shocking. All the timings of the top eight swimmers were manipulated….”
As a result of all this, the swimmer did not even take a splash in the pool in the 200m breastroke final on the final day despite lining up on the starting blocks.
Swimming Federation of India secretary-general Monal Chokshi is not aware of the video in detail posted by Likhith on social media, but was in the knowhow of display boards not functioning. However, the SFI is not reading too much into it.
"Heats timings were a problem, the display was not working. Timings published were faster times. So our coaches brought it to the organisers attention and informed us also. They corrected that for the final startlist. It happened in the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Final start list timings and results were fine," said Chokshi.
Karnataka pools open for training purposes
The state government finally gave ears to the request of the Karnataka Swimming Association (KSA), allowing pools to be opened for training purposes in their latest guidelines released on Tuesday. It has remained shut amidst the surge in Covid-19 cases from earlier this month. However, the state body has made it clear that only affiliated pools of the KSA, where competitive swimmers train, will be opened with strict protocols in place.