“Over the last few months SFI has been in constant touch with the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and also the Ministry of Home Affairs for permission to reopen swimming pools in India for competitive swimmers. We were happy that with the support of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the permission finally came through with the Unlock 5.0 guidelines released on 30 September 2020. On behalf of the swimming fraternity we thank the Ministries and the Sports Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju for all the support in seeing our request through.” R N Jayaprakash, President SFI.
In line with the MHA order; on 9th October 2020, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports issued the detailed SOPs and guidelines for swimming pools to resume operations from 15 October 2020 for training of sports persons. Swimming Federation of India (SFI) launched a video campaign on 10th October to emphasize on the key guidelines and communicated to all the State Units to ensure implementation of the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) as their top priority and work with the State Governments / local authorities to facilitate activities to resume on 15 October 2020 outside containment zones.
In anticipation of the SOP’s to be released, SFI and its state units have been in touch with the state government authorities for resuming training of swimmers in the respective states from 15th October. “As soon as the MYAS SOP for swimming was issued on Friday, we have circulated the document to all our State Units. We find the document to be comprehensive and well-conceived. We are thankful to the Ministry officials to have sought SFI recommendation while drafting the same. These guidelines are sacrosanct and we have encouraged all State Units and Swimming Centres in the country who train competitive swimmers to ensure these SOPs are implemented while they plan to resume training on top priority” stated Monal Chokshi, Secretary General, SFI.
The official further stated that the Federation will hold interactive online sessions led by international experts for coaches, parents and swimmers in order to further guide them on the important aspects to keep in mind when they return to competitive training.
“In the coming weeks, we have planned to hold virtual interactive sessions with experts who will further explain the micro-level precautions that can be followed while adhering to the guidelines issued by the Ministry. There will be specific sessions for the benefit of Coaches and Centres that train competitive swimmers as well as specific virtual sessions for parents and swimmers on best practices to follow while resuming training after a gap of six months,” Chokshi explained.
On Saturday, the National Governing Body for Swimming also launched a video campaign that includes 10 key guidelines for ensuring safe return to swimming activities. “We have launched a video campaign highlighting the “Key Elements” of the SOP for swimmers return to the pools which reopen next week. This easy-to-understand animated video will be promoted on social media handles, and we will send them to various Centres across the country to share with parents and swimmers. With Ministry issuing these SOPs in advance, Centres have enough time to rollout these measures and educate the swimmers and parents on Do’s and Don’ts,” emphasized Chokshi.
In the following days SFI will launch milestone initiatives that will have far-reaching results in the sport. Chokshi added, “In the coming days we will be announcing significant initiatives that will help develop the sport further. These initiatives were to be launched earlier in the year but due to Covid19 pandemic and subsequent nationwide lockdowns, the rollout of these initiatives had to be pushed back. But with the Ministry giving a go ahead to restart competitive swimming, we all geared up for a fresh start.”