With pools shut, top swimmers preparing for international meet left high and dry

The KSA is expecting an official order on Tuesday and remains hopeful of a positive outcome.

Published: 06th April 2021 05:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th April 2021 05:51 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Most of India’s elite swimmers, who were training in Bengaluru for an international meet, have not had access to the pool for the last three days after the Karnataka Government ordered all pools to be shut due to a rise in Covid-19 cases. The closure of the pools has hampered the preparation of athletes like Srihari Nataraj, who is yet to compete internationally since the lockdown last March.

However, there could be some relief for the swimmers after the Karnataka Swimming Association (KSA) president Gopal Hosur and secretary Satish Kumar met Chief Minister B S Yeddiyurappa and Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Monday. The KSA is expecting an official order on Tuesday and remains hopeful of a positive outcome.

“We met the CM and Health Minister. I told them that there are Olympic swimmers training here and closing of pools affects the sportspersons. If they miss coaching for a single day also, their programmes get upset too,” said Hosur. “There is no need to permit swimming for fun, but they should at least permit competitive swimmers. The KSA will ensure that all SOPs are followed by everyone concerned. Even states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, which also have cases on rise, have not shut down pools,” he contended.

The Swimming Federation of India is keeping a close tab on the situation and secretary Monal Chokshi has been in touch with the KSA officials, who have assured them that at least elite swimmers will be given permission to train.

“I spoke to the Karnataka Swimming Association president Gopal Hosur, and they have been given an assurance that the competitive training will be permitted. If nothing else, training should not be interrupted for at least this group of swimmers in Bengaluru, who will travel internationally. If some relaxation or some specific order can be secured, it will be good for everyone,” said Choksi.  

Swimmers appeal to govt 

Around 300-400 swimmers, coaches and members of different clubs, along with owners of various pools also gathered at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Monday and appealed to the government to reopen the pools as well. They were also addressed by the KSA officials. Interestingly, swimming was one of the last sports to open up after the lockdown, around October last year. Other sports had resumed by June.
“I do not know why they close pools. In fact, in the last four to five months, there has not been a single case of swimmers having contracted Covid after pools opened,” Hosur claimed.


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