Indian swimming fraternity anxious to follow the world

The swimmers around the world in the US, Europe, and the rest of Asia like Singapore, Philippines and Thailand are back into the pool.

Indian swimmer S. Shiva in action at the Asian Age Group Swimming Championship at the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence in Bengaluru in 2019.   -  FILE PHOTO/ SUDHAKARA JAIN

Even as swimmers around the world, from North America to Europe to the rest of Asia are back in the pool, Indian swimmers are anxiously waiting for the green signal.

The chlorination of water pools is said to inactivate the novel coronavirus and reduce risk of transmission. Also, the practice world over has been to make swimmers wear their swimming costumes before they reach the pool.

They are also expected to shower at home before and after swims and avoid the use of facilities at the pool.

“For the first time we have eight swimmers who have achieved B-qualification for the Olympics. But while those of other countries are back in the water since May, we are at a loss,” said long-distance swimmer Meenakshi Pahuja, who has covered many lakes and channels around the world.

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Time needed

Meenakshi pointed out that elite swimmers eyeing the A-qualification for the Tokyo Olympics require time in the pool to get back their rhythm and reach their potential. It would take quite a while to improve their timings even by a fraction of a second.

“If the normal allowance is for 80 swimmers in an Olympic size 50-metre pool, we can have one third capacity to ensure distancing norms,” said Meenakshi. She also highlighted that thousands of swimming pools remained shut, even in green zones, and about 400 pools in Delhi alone.

In fact, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has categorised canoeing, sailing, rowing, etc. in the D-category of the SOP for resumption of sports activity, but has banned swimming activity until now.

The Swimming Federation of India has submitted a proposal and is awaiting a response.

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