India’s swimming fraternity got a shot in the arm after Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in its latest order on Wednesday, announced the reopening of pools across the country from October 15. Also Read - Bigg Boss 14 Update: Asim Riaz Rejected To Enter The Controversial House as 'Toofani Senior'
The swimming pools across the country were closed since March 24 because of the COVID-19 induced lockdown that forced Olympic hopefuls to train in the United Arab Emirates. Also Read - IPL 2020 LIVE KXIP vs SRH Match 43 Live Cricket Score And Updates Online: Jordan Double Brings Punjab Back, Hyderabad Choke in 127 Chase
“Swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons will be permitted to open, for which the standard operating procedure (SOP) will be issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S),” the MHA said in its recent order. Also Read - Indian Railways Latest News: First of Its Kind 'Bags on Wheels' Service to Begin Soon | All You Need to Know
Swimming had been hit hard by the pandemic as pools and complexes across the country remained shut ever since the lockdown was announced on March 24.
In its SOP released in May, the Sports Authority of India too has left out swimming after MHA had barred pools from reopening till Wednesday’s guidelines.
After repeated complaints from the swimmers, the SAI in August had arranged for a training camp in Dubai where Virdhawal Khade, Srihari Nataraj, Sajan Prakash and Kushagra Rawat were supposed to take part.
However, Khade who had opted out of the camp had expressed his inability to resume training till pools in India reopened. In fact, he had said that currently, he is concentrating on his government job.
The swimmers were supposed to train at Dubai’s Aqua Nation Swimming Academy. They were expected to be accompanied by coach A C Jayarajan for a two-month stint at a cost of around Rs 35 lakh ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.