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Indian swimmers worry about continued pool use restrictions

Indian swimmers say continuing to restrict pool use will not only affect performance. Their in the next few years but also affect their mental health.

Swimmers in the country have not entered the swimming pools since 25 March, when the first wave of Covid was announced.

The latest guidance on phase three of the relaxation of restrictions on the use of swimming pools until August 31.

Srihari Nataraj, who achieved a “B” score last year in the 100m backstroke swim. With a national record of 54.69 seconds, the break has pushed swimmers’ careers almost a year. Its impact will be felt during the Tokyo Olympics and the next sports festival.

“If we are trained, it will all make significant progress. Now it will take at least 3-4 months to achieve the same level of progress.

The 19-year-old swimmer needs to reduce his time to 53.85 to secure a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

“Things that can be achieved in March, will be achieved in December if practicing again now. We are wasting a lot of time in our careers. It will affect performance at the Tokyo Olympics, 2022 Asian Games, Nataraj added.

Kushagra Rawat, who achieved a B-grade in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle. The lack of exercise opportunities also affects the morale of the Indian swimmers.

“The pools have opened around the world, so we always remember improving our time while we haven’t even been to the pool for four months,” said Rawat.

It’s a record where even if you miss a day or two, it will affect your performance.

The Indian Swimming Federation (SFI) has asked Olympic athletes for permission to continue training since May, but to no avail.

Dronacharya’s award-winning coach Nihar Ameen also expressed frustration at the government’s decision to close elite swimmers’ pools.

Swimming is one of the safest sports and if all other sports including contact sports and exercise are open, don’t swim.

Nataraj, Virdhawal Khade, Sajan Prakash, Rawat, Aryan Makhija and Advait Page are after swimmers who have achieved B-level in their respective events for the Olympics and are moving towards Standard A.

Among them, Prakash and Makhija were fortunate to continue training. While Parakash, who had spent the entire course at a practitioner in Phket, started training when the swimming pools opened in Thailand, Makhija flew to Alabama, USA, where he studied at Auburn University, in  mid-July.

However, Nataraj, Rawat and Khade do not plan to go out to practice.

“The only option for me is the federation is planning. Others are out and out enrolled at the university. I don’t have that choice, ” said Nataraj.