An Indian swimmer, on Saturday, took to Twitter to vent his ire over the ‘blatant cheating’ that was going on at the 2019 All-India Inter-University Swimming (AIIU) meet being held at Lovely Professional University (LPU) on the outskirts of Jalandhar, Punjab.
The 29-year-old swimmer, who has represented India at the Commonwealth Games as well as the Asian Games, posted a video clip on the social media platform as evidence to the misdoing that was unfolding in front of his eyes. He further added and pledged to the newly-appointed Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and wrote:
Watch the video here:
Indian swimmer S.P. Likith, who achieved the ‘B’ qualifying standard for the 2019 FINA World Championships in the men’s 100m breaststroke a few months back, also tweeted a video alleging the AIIU officials of supporting early starts and false time recording on several instances.
The two videos clearly depict one of the swimmers taking a headstart, diving into the pool even before the whistle was blown. And according to the swimmer who spoke about it on Twitter, this was not the first incident. Many such instances have happened over the years in the state and national level meets.
If indeed the accusations are true, then it comes as a shocking revelation. Swimming, as a sport, offers the maximum number of medals at any multi-sport event, be it the Olympics or the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games. As of now, it is a big enough achievement for Indian swimmers to just qualify for the Olympics. If Kiren Rijiju wants to deliver on his promise of entering the top-10 in the Olympic medals tally by 2028, it is imperative that India have a couple of swimmers contending for a medal.
However, if, at the grassroots level, the meets are not organised fairly, if some swimmers are given an unfair advantage, it will hinder the process of identifying talent and moulding them to world-class competitors and eventually, come back to hurt India’s medal prospects.