Asian Games bronze-winning swimmer Virdhawal Khade met Maharashtra tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray on Monday and requested for the re-opening of swimming pools in the state, closed for the past seven months due to the COVID19 pandemic.
The union home ministry has allowed for reopening of pools for training purposes with strict health safety protocols. "Thrilled to meet the dynamic [email protected] today. Submitted request on behalf of all young swimmers and swimming pool staff from Maharashtra, to open up swimming pools in Maharashtra. Thank you @AhirsachinAhir sir for the support and love," tweeted Khade.
In the same tweet, Khade shared the letter which he handed over to Thackeray. Khade is a state government employee and recently missed a training trip to Dubai to focus on his job. His letter to Thackrey pleaded for a resumption, citing the swimmers as well as the coaches' current plight.
Thrilled to meet the dynamic hon. @AUThackeray ji today . Submitted request on behalf of all young swimmers and swimming pool staff from Maharashtra ,to open up swimming pools in Maharashtra . Thank you @AhirsachinAhir sir for the support and love . pic.twitter.com/AtbRIHdFwN
— Virdhawal Khade OLY (@virdhawalkhade) October 19, 2020
"Other states have opened up swimming facilities and the Swimming Federation of India has already begun planning for the Age Group Level National Championships in near future. Maharashtra and its young swimmers are already at a big disadvantage because of the extended lockdown in the state," he wrote.
"I hope our youngsters don't give up because of the situation. I truly believe we need to make sure they get a fair chance at any and every competition so they can work hard and prove themselves and prepare to take on the challenge we call life," the 29-year-old added. Khade said thousands of coaches, support staff and maintenance workers across Maharashtra, who depended on the swimming pools for their livelihood have either lost their jobs.
In the letter, Khade also spoke about how restrictions on pools have caused heavy financial losses. Maharashtra is the worst affected state due to COVID-19 and has recorded over 15 lakh cases.The swimming pools in the state have been closed since mid-March, when the lockdown was enforced to contain the spread of the deadly virus.