An international standards swimming pool in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch district, the practice pool for 1986 Asian Games silver medalist Khajan Singh decades ago, has completely gone dry forcing the 19 swimmers training for state swimming championship, which began in Jabalpur on Tuesday, to travel daily to adjacent Mandsaur district for training.
The Neemuch Nagar Palika has cut water supply to the swimming pool this summer due to scarcity of water owing to ongoing pipeline laying work and drying up of available water sources.
“We’ve been requesting the Nagar Palika to fill up the pool since March, but the municipal body has been turning down our requests stating that they don’t even have enough drinking water,” Neemuch District Swimming Association president Ashok Modi told HT on Tuesday.
Modi said 19 swimmers, aged between 8 and 18, headed for the Jabalpur contest now just get three hours of training at the Mandsaur pool, when at least six to seven hours of daily practice was needed to prepare swimmers running for medals.
“Instead of waking up to render final touches for the Jabalpur tourney at the Neemuch pool, the swimmers have been waking up as early as 3.30 am and travelling to Mandsaur (by 4 am) for three-hour training for the last 10 days, which is not enough. Our swimmers needed 6-7 hours practice daily,” he said.
Young swimmers won over 90 medals in previous two editions of state swimming championship
The young swimmers have won over 90 medals in the previous two editions of state swimming championship in Indore and Dewas. Two swimmers, Nanak Moolchandani and Prateek Bhardwaj, have also represented India at a school-level swimming championship in Australia last year.
“Had we got our pool replete with water even for a fortnight, we could have sent 50 swimmers instead of the 19 to Jabalpur,” he said.
The Neemuch Nagar Palika chief Rakesh Jain, meanwhile, expressed his inability to help the swimmers.
“There is acute water crisis this season as all our 35 water wells have dried up. We’ve to first meet drinking water needs of 1.40 lakh population, before we can even dream of rendering water for swimmers at the pool. With scarcity of water and work on laying new water pipeline underway, we’re at the best able to supply drinking water to Neemuch residents once in three days, so how can we help the swimmers cause,” said Jain.