BENGALURU: The Karnataka Swimming Association’s (KSA) wait to restart activities has got longer. On Saturday, the Ministry of Home Affairs reiterated that swimming pools across the country will remain closed.
This is disappointing for the state body which has been requesting the state government to relax restrictions on using pools.
"We saw the guidelines and are disappointed with this. I have no problem with the ministry not giving permission for swimming in general. But they should have made a special provision for competitive swimmers at certain levels. However, we are still going to pursue this," said KSA president Gopal Hosur.
Before the ministry announcement, the KSA held an online media conference on Saturday, where it stressed on the importance of getting established swimmers back in the pool. There was a video presentation also, featuring star swimmer Srihari Nataraj among others.
"To our distress and dismay, we have not received any positive response from the state government," Hosur told the media. He added that the KSA, after requesting the government last month to open pools for national and international swimmers in the state, approached them twice more without receiving a response.
“The demand from the KSA and the swimming fraternity including swimmers, to the state government, is to permit the national and international swimmers to practise,” said Hosur.
Srihari also requested the government for permission to resume swimming. The backstroke specialist, who achieved Tokyo Olympics B mark in 100m last year, is looking to attain A qualification timing. But he has been out of water for more than two months.
The KSA, meanwhile, will be sharing standard operating procedures to its affiliated centres as well. Besides temperature check and hand sanitisation, pool ladders and starting blocks will be sanitised among others.
Noted coach Nihar Ameen feels the government is not able to differentiate between recreational and competitive swimming. "A lot of effort has gone in to make this distinction clear. Hundreds of people jumping into a pool with no physical distancing, that is what people think of swimming. But it is completely different when we deal with competitive swimmers. It is a controlled environment, where we can ensure that rules are followed and social distancing is maintained. It is a huge task to convince the government," said Ameen.