New Delhi: Swimming Federation of India (SFI) on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of conducting any competition in the country unless the pools are reopened for training in all the states following the coronavirus-induced break.
Last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had announced the reopening of pools used for training of sports persons across the country from October 15. The restriction on swimming pools were in place since March 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On October 15, not all swimming pools will open, may be one or two. Pools are maintained by clubs, state governments etc. So it would not be possible to conduct national competitions if all states do not allow reopening of pools,” Virendra Nanavati, SFI Executive Director, said during a virtual press conference.
“So we have to wait for 4-5 months and see if it is possible to have competitions,” he added.
The governing body also said that strict action will be taken against swimmers, who violate the SOPs laid down by the sports ministry to ensure a safe return for the sport following the coronavirus-induced break.
“The swimming pools will open with strict SOPs in place and we cannot deviate from the SOPs by even 1 %. Already our swimmers have been affected by the six months break due to Covid-19,” said RN Jayaprakash, President, SFI. “So we can’t take the SOPs for granted. We can’t falter in anyway. We will speak to state units to implement the SOPs strictly. We will recommend strict action who deviates from the SOPs.”
The SFI also announced its partnership with Australian Sports Education and Consultancy Company, MoreGold led by Wayne Goldsmith for Coach Education and Certification. “The talent in India is unquestionable and I don’t see any reason why we can’t have great swimmers like you have great cricketers such as Gavaskar and Tendulkar in this country,” said Wayne, Managing Director, Moregold Sports.
“Research and development will be the first phase, where we listen to coaches to know their technique and strength to understand their speciific needs. We would design specific courses for coaches to create swimmers. My ambition is to find that unique quality to train coaches to produce outstanding performances. What we create will be unique and effective in India.”
The partnership is part of the long-term strategic road map launched by SFI, aiming to create success stories at the 2022 Asian Games, Commonwealth Games leading up to the 2024 & 2028 Olympic Games.
“We need to address early burn outs, injuries and attrition in the sport. We need to focus on these attributes from the start if we have to win medals,” said Monal Chokshi, Secretary General, SFI after launching “Development strategy for competitive swimming in India Mission 2028”.