A ray of hope has been given to the Maharashtra Swimming Association by the private sports club of Ahmedabad. With no response from the government even after requesting the Maharashtra government to open swimming pools, the swimming association turned to the neighboring state.
As the swimmers needed to practise for the National Aquatic Championships 2021, the SWAM had requested the government to briefly open swimming pools, which have been shut due to Covid-19. While the state ignored their pleas, a private sports club in Gujarat extended a helping hand.
The National Aquatic Championships 2021 will be held in Bengaluru in October. Officials and swimmers were hoping there will be some relaxation, as nationals are just around the corner. While the Maharashtra authorities left them disappointed, three neighbouring states extended invitations to hold the trials. The SWAM finalised the trials at Savvy Swaraaj Sports Club, Gota, Ahmedabad.
“The time is running out now. We had discussed this scenario with officials, and we finally took the decision,” said an official from the SWAM. According to a SWAM official, the last date for sending entry to participate in the trials is September 23. For senior category candidates, trials will be held on September 25 and 26, while trials for junior and sub-junior categories will be held from September 27 to 29.
For the National Aquatic Championships 2021, junior and sub-junior participants have to send their entries by October 1, and seniors have to by October 6. The Senior National Aquatic Championships will be held from October 26 to 29, and junior and sub-junior’s from October 19 to 23.
Swimming coach Amit Temkar said, “Many swimmers preparing for nationals had given up, as pools were closed. Now, when trials are being held outside the state, many parents from the middle-class will have to struggle for financial arrangements. Candidates will need money to stay outstation for a couple of days. Maharashtra has disappointed us this year.”
Neeta Talavlikar, honorary general secretary, SWAM, said, “We took this decision after visiting several authorities and ministers, and waiting patiently for months. Our state swimmers are one of best in the country and we don’t want to lose the chance to prove it. Since last week, we have been working out a plan to hold trials outside the state and received invitations from three neighbouring states. We have finalised Ahmedabad. We will be issuing detailed guidelines regarding trials in a day.”
Deepak Mejari, president, SWAM, said, “This is really unfortunate. Neighbouring states extended a helping hand to us for the trials. We don’t understand what was so difficult in allowing swimming pools for 300 to 350 swimmers for a limited time.”
After the nationals next month, more events are lined up in 2022 — Fina Swimming World Championships in Japan, Commonwealth Games in England, and Asian Games in China.
Last day to send entries for trials in Ahmedabad is Sept 23