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Why gyms and swimming pools are shut when pubs and bars remain open?

As per the guidelines by the Karnataka government, swimming pools are to be closed. Indian swimmers preparing for the Olympics, are bearing the brunt.

Indian swimmers preparing for the Tokyo Olympics (Source: The Hindu)

Indian swimmers preparing for the Tokyo Olympics (Source: The Hindu)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 2021-04-03T17:30:26+05:30

In view of the surge in coronavirus cases, the government of Karnataka has issued fresh guidelines for COVID-19 measures. Bars and restaurants, pubs, clubs, and theatres are allowed to run 50% of their capacity. But gym centres and swimming pools have been asked to shut completely. Karnataka Gymnasiums' Association has urged the state government to reconsider its decision.

Talking to reporters here on Saturday, Karnataka Gymnasiums Association president Gym Ravi said, "The government order insists that all gym centres should be closed with immediate effect. If this happens, what do we do and how do we pay rent? We responded to the state government positively on the earlier occasion. Even we pay tax to the government. Let the government announce a special package for us. If you are fit, you can be free of coronavirus. Many sportsmen want us to protest in front of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's house. Why this step-motherly treatment for us? Give us some guidelines so that we can run our business. There are 10,000 gym centres in the state. Due to lockdown, around 2,000 gym centres have shut down and have become jobless because of this."

The threat of coronavirus has left the fitness industry ailing and barely able to stand with smaller gyms on the verge of shutting down, larger chains contemplating huge losses and unemployment becoming a very real prospect for many thousands of trainers and support staff.

Along with gyms, the Karnataka government has also restricted the functioning of swimming pools. People belonging to the community are agitated with the fact when pubs and bars can function, why can't swimming pools be accessed?

Indian competitive swimmers remain in doubt

Swimming has been bearing the brunt of coronavirus for the longest time. It was probably the last sports that received the green light for resumption. And this time again, while all other sporting activities will be performed fully, swimmers have to wait for their turn. One of the biggest setbacks of the government's decision has been for the Indian competitive swimmers who have been training for the Olympics.

Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj training in Bengaluru (Source: India Today)

In an interview with Times of India, M Satish Kumar, secretary of the Karnataka Swimming Association told that there are no reported cases of Covid-19 among swimmers in the state. The city hosted two competitions across age groups as well as an all-India meet last month, with over 700 swimmers from across the country taking part. He told the newspaper,

"We will put forward our case to the government. The new order will put us out of business for good. The losses we will incur are beyond imagination. We don't understand on what basis have they drawn the conclusion that swimming pools contribute to the rise in Covid-19 cases, when we don't have a single instance."

The Indian swimming team is set to leave for Uzbekistan on April 9 for an Olympic qualifying event. The team includes Srihari Nataraj, Likith SP and Suvana Baskar, who are training in Bengaluru. With the new directive, swimmers cannot train before the event.

Inputs from Times of India

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