Allow swimmers to train - KSA's plea to Karnataka government

Private pools could reopen to enable elite swimmers to train with necessary precautions, suggests the Karnataka Swimming Association.

In Karnataka, all swimming pools, alongside recreational activities like theatres and bars, are required to be closed during the latest phase of the lockdown. - S. SUDARSHAN (REPRESENTATIVE)   -  REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE

The Karnataka Swimming Association (KSA) made an appeal to the government to allow competitive swimmers to resume training here. As per the guidelines for phased reopening released by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday, swimming pools - grouped alongside recreational facilities like theatres and bars - will remain closed.

The guidelines assume that these facilities pose a bigger risk of spreading the coronavirus.

In a web conference on Saturday, reputed swimming coach Nihar Ameen and KSA president Gopal Hosur disputed this claim. “There seems to be confusion between public pools and private pools used for competitive training. We agree that public pools must remain closed, as it cannot be controlled and monitored. But we want our private pools to be opened, as we will use it purely to train our competitive swimmers with all precautionary measures in place,” Dronacharya awardee Ameen said.

Hosur explained that several studies have found that swimming pools are perfectly safe, as the chlorine content acts as a disinfectant to the virus.

Losing form and fitness

“To our great dismay, the government has permitted several sports to resume, but not swimming. Our national and international swimmers have suffered - they are losing form and fitness,” Hosur said.

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A few weeks ago, Hosur and KSA officials met the Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa and State sports minister C. T. Ravi to present their case for resumption of competitive swimming training, but their request has not yielded a positive response.

The heavy loss in revenue due to the closure of pools is another issue that has plagued the sport.

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“Our affiliated clubs are not cash-rich. They have suffered a great deal as summer camps have not been held this year. We request the State government to provide subsidies in electricity bills and other means to ease their burden,” Hosur said.

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