Talent succeeds only when given the right kind of environment to grow and nurture. This applies to all careers and swimming is a field which is not left as an exception. Having said this, Delhi, the Capital of India itself faces reducing the number of heated pools. What’s more depressing is that there is no course of action taken to make this situation better. This is where Fitso comes into the picture. As the CBSE and National swimming championships arrive, the shortage of heated swimming pools in Delhi at this time of the year makes it a situation filled with despair especially for young talents in this field who are full of potential.
Swimming Talent Versus Swimming Barriers
Khajan Singh, an Arjuna Awardee Swimming champion is from Delhi. Why can’t Delhi produce any more Swimming Champions like him? There is no course of action being taken by the Government to increase the number of heated pools around this time and Fitso is helping these aspirants with that. Bengaluru is the only city that has higher number of all year round pools that helps them produce efficient swimmers as compared to Delhi.
What is it that Bengaluru is doing right which Delhi can’t cope up with when it comes to providing excellent swimming facilities? For instance, Kerala’s outstanding swimming talent Sajan Prakash chose Bengaluru for his Swimming Training. Bengaluru is known to be a paradise for budding Swimming talent. Sajan Prakash is a stand out performer who has won three gold medals in four events at the young age of 22-years. In spite of doing the best to improve stamina, learn new techniques and train relentlessly with his coach it has been difficult for him to go abroad and train in South Africa owing to his finances. Infrastructural and financial barriers are the two most crucial and unfortunate hindrances that Swimming professionals face in India.
Khajan Singh, the Swimming Prodigy
He has remained the Swimming Champion of India for years and has now started his own Academy in Delhi. Born in Sarojini Nagar in Delhi, Singh has given outstanding national as well as international performances at the South Asian Federation Games. He has procured Gold Medals at Kathmandu in 1984 and at Islamabad in 1989. He has also won a Bronze medal at the 1988 Asian Swimming Championships in Beijing. Khajan has also represented India in the 12th Commonwealth Games at Brisbane in 1982 and is a well renowned Arjuna Awardee swimmer who has his own Academy today in Delhi. Though swimming talents like Khajan Singh has found their own niche in the Indian swimming arena it is a fact that there is a significant need to develop Swimming Infrastructure in Delhi just like Bengaluru in order to nurture talent.
Failing Swimming Infrastructure in Delhi
Sport is an important aspect of a Country’s youth and foundation. Sports infrastructure in Delhi is constantly deteriorating. Even with a Population of 2 crores, only 187 Authorized Pools are available in the capital which is an extremely poor ratio. There are only 195 swimming pools of which 25-35% are out of bounds for public use. Of the 17 Delhi Development Authority DDA sports complexes, only 15 have swimming pools and getting a three-month membership is also subject to a long waiting list. There is just a single functional swimming pool under the south corporation. Even this facility has been outsourced for maintenance to a private contractor.
The east corporation has no swimming pool and the north corporation has only seven swimming pools under its jurisdiction. Though summer sees a rush in the swimming membership, there is no proper arrangement for “Heated Pools” in Winter. The New Delhi Municipal Council has 3 Swimming Pools in Sarojini Nagar and Mandir Marg which is used by school children and has two lifeguards. Safety is another aspect that needs to be considered seriously because of the recent incident of a 35-year-old Software Engineer who died at the DDA’s Paschim Vihar Swimming Pool.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This dearth of Swimming Facilities is the reason for the demotivation of various Swimming talents that are coming up in this field. Delhi’s Swimming Champion Khazan Singh agrees with the fact that there is a dire need for more Swimming Pools and it is equally important to ensure that standards for maintaining and improving swimming infrastructure must be strictly followed. Fitso has considered this initiative as highly crucial and is marching forward towards success to give the Best Infrastructure and Facilities to Swimming Professionals.