One of India’s top swimmers Virdhawal Khade has spoken about quitting the sport due to lack of clarity with regard to the use of swimming pools again for practice.
Khade took to Twitter to show his frustration, asking why swimmers are made to wait to enter the pools while other competitive athletes can resume training with certain restrictions.
“Might have to consider retiring from swimming . No news or communication of any sorts for being able to start swimming again. Wish swimming was treated the same as other sports in India,” Virdhawal said on Twitter.
He added, “Almost 3 months since the swimmers in India entered the pool. If other competitive athletes can follow social distancing while training, competitive swimmers can do the same as well. I hope other Olympic swimming prospects don’t consider retiring because of this.”
The Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Standard Operation Protocols (SOPs) for resumption of training allow sports complexes to open but swimming pools and gyms are still out of bonds for athletes.
Earlier, the Swimming Federation of India had requested the sports ministry to at least allow elite swimmers to resume practice. “Since the order has been given for reopening the stadia and sports complexes, we have written to sports minister, SAI, and IOA to request the Ministry of Home Affairs to let at least the elite swimmers to start training,” SFI Secretary-General, Monal Chokshi told PTI.
“There is a difference between recreational swimming pools and the pools for elite athletes. It is in line with the MHA guidelines if these swimmers train in the pools of the sports complexes that are going to open,” Chokshi said.
Apart from Virdhawal, others swimmers like Srihari Nataraj, Advait Page and Aryan Makhija have been asking for clarity but so far, there hasn’t been any response from the ministry.