New Delhi: The Indian swimming fraternity has welcomed the decision to reopen swimming pools across the country. On Friday, the Sports Ministry issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) outlining use of swimming pools for competitive swimmers. In its order dated September 30, the Union Home Ministry allowed for the reopening of swimming pools except for those in containment zones.
Virdhawal Khade one of 6 Indian swimmers who has achieved the Olympic qualification B mark and who participated in the 2008 Olympics is very happy about the decision saying, “It is an excellent decision . I am glad the swimmers will get a chance to get back to full form and race again soon . I hope the State Governments take decision to fully support the Decision taken by the Centre at the soonest and 100% of the competitive swimmers can start training again.”
In August SAI had sanctioned a two-month training camp in Dubai, attended by swimmers Srihari Nataraj and Kushagra Rawat, both of whom have achieved the B Qualification mark. As also Sajan Prakash. Though he had trained in Dubai, Nataraj is happy to be training in India once again, “I’m very glad that swimming pools are opening up in India, being able to train by staying at home does make me a feel a lot better especially due to the fact I have my entire support staff available and the schedule can be designed for maximum efficiency.”
Despite the delays brought upon by the Covid-19 pandemic, a postponed Olympics may just help Indian swimmers and Dronacharya awardee coach Nihar Ameen has said the resumption of training is a positive step in this regard, “I am absolutely overjoyed with the news that our swimmers are allowed to resume their training. All our swimmers have suffered a setback due to the Pandemic and the rescheduling of the Olympics will surely help our swimmers get back to form. I am very optimistic that our Olympic B qualifiers will work very hard to attain the A qualifying time and all our swimmers across the country are very enthusiastic about resuming their training.”
The Swimming Federation of India too has welcomed the decision and the SOPs created for the resumption of swimming, Secretary General Monal Chokshi said, “We are very happy that the government has permitted the resumption of competitive swimming. The SOP document of MYAS is a comprehensive and well conceived document. It shall be our priority to propagate the need to follow these guidelines for our athletes safety.”