Asian Games bronze medallist Virdhawal Khade has said he may have to contemplate retirement should the Sports Ministry not allow opening of swimming pools to resume training. Also Read - 10th Asian Age Group Championships: India Finish Fourth with 15 Gold, 19 Silver and 18 Bronze Medals
Swimming pools in India continue to be shut amidst the rapidly increasing coronavirus cases even as the government recently eased lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the pandemic. Also Read - Irish swimmer makes waves; covers Alibaug-Mumbai in 7.51 hours
However, the government has allowed stadiums and sports complexes to be opened paving the way for athletes to resume training. Also Read - Swimming Nationals: Virdhawal Khade And Saloni Dalal Break National Records
“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. Person shrugging @IndiaSports @RijijuOffice @KirenRijiju @swimmingfedera1 @Nihar44190177,” Khade tweeted.
Khade further wrote that swimmers can observe social distancing while training like other sports.
“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,” he wrote.
Pools in Thailand, UK and parts of Australia have been opened to allow athletes to train.
Swimming Federation of India (SFI) has requested with the sports ministry to seek home ministry’s permission to open pools and allow elite swimmers to restart their training.
“Absolutely zero feedback. Regular follow up with MYAS is yielding no results. All appeals to permit elite and competitive training to resume are hitting a wall at MHA. Without MHA permission, no state government willing to permit,” SFI Secretary General, Monal Chokshi told PTI.
“Unfortunately the decision makers in the MHA seem to think malls & restaurants are safe while allowing top athletes to train in controlled environments is unsafe,” he added.
SFI had written to sports ministry, Indian Olympic Association and the Sports Authority of India to allow swimmers who have achieved the B qualification for the Tokyo Olympics to resume training. Six Indian swimmers have achieved the qualification mark and are hoping to make the A standard in their respective categories.