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Khade awaits govt response on opening up pools too train

A day after Virdhawal Khade had expressed anguish over the delay in authorities allowing elite swimmers to train in the pool again by saying he may have to quit the sport altogether, the 2010 Asian Games bronze medallist said there was no response from sports ministry or Sports Authority of India (SAI).

“No, I haven’t yet (got any response),” the 28-year-old said on Monday.

Alongside Khade’s tweet on his frustration on Sunday, his coach Nihar Ameen had also tweeted: “Silence from MYAS is deafening. Appeals to resume training for elite swimmers beg the ear of our Honourable Minister of Sports.”

SFI had a few days back urged the sports ministry to allow elite swimmers to train at a designated centre, just like Olympics-bound hockey teams, track athletes and weightlifters are being allowed to do.

The federation has also expressed frustration at the Ministry of Home Affairs excluding swimmings pools from Unlock 1.0, the first phase of the opening up process, while allowing training at sports complexes to restart.

Swimming pools are scheduled to open in the third and final phase of opening up, but that could be delayed due to the spike in cases in the last few days.

Khade’s tweet had argued that swimmers too can maintain social distance and follow the norms set in the Sports Authority of India’s guidelines.

The swimmer is hoping the sports ministry takes up the issue with MHA soon and speeds up the process. For the first time in Indian swimming, six competitors have achieved B qualification mark for the Tokyo Olympics and are aiming to achieve the A mark. Khade said their preparations have been totally disrupted after not training in the pool for three months due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19.

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