The swimming fraternity in Karnataka has appealed to the state government to reopen pools to give the swimmers enough practice time ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which is little more than three months away.
Over 600 coaches, members from affiliated clubs, parents and swimmers assembled at Shri Kanteerava Stadium on Monday to appeal to the Karnataka government.
A team from Karnataka Swimming Association (KSA) led by its president Gopal Hosur met with Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa and put forth their plea.
"This morning we had a fruitful meeting with the Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri BS Yediyurappa and we also met with Medical Education and Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar and appealed to them to reopen the swimming pools," Hosur said in a statement.
"We have also requested the Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar to consider our plea and allow competitive swimmers to train as a 20-day shut down will be a major setback for them in an Olympic year.
"With the new order to keep the pools closed, over 1000 competitive swimmers in the state will be put out of practice. We expect some relief from the government by Tuesday, 6th April," he added.
The Karnataka government on April 2 issued an order to shut down swimming pools across the state till April 20 in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.
"Over 10,000 families depend on swimming pools for their living. Karnataka swimming has dominated in the last 30 years and we have produced many Olympians from here.
"But unfortunately, due to the shutting down of swimming pools, not just the careers of these bright young swimmers are at stake but also careers of thousands of coaches and pool maintenance staff is also at stake.
"They depend on swimming for their livelihood and our sport was beginning to see some semblance in the past few months, but Karnataka's recent order will affect many lives," said KSA secretary Satish M Kumar. The KSA also emphasised that swimming is one of the safest sports to pursue as COVID-19 virus does not spread through water, particularly chlorinated water.
"As per the report by CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) COVID-19 does not spread through water. In fact, the report clearly states that chlorine water is one of the best disinfectants. We have explained the same to the CM and the health minister in our appeal," he added.
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