SFI unhappy with facilities at CWG venue; absence of coach

Jaipur: Absence of a foreign coach and lack
of facilities at the newly-built swimming complex have left
Swimming Federation of India (SFI) worried about India`s medal
prospects in the sport at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

With less than 45 days left for the October 3-14 Games,
SFI secretary Virendra Nanavati said swimmers are still
waiting to get hang of things at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
Complex, and the delay is hampering their preparation for the
mega-sporting event.

"We have been trying hard for past few years to get a
foreign coach but nothing has been done and the matter is
still lying with the government officials. Many other sports
are enjoying the services of foreign coaches but not the
swimming federation. In such a scenario what would you expect
from swimmers?" questioned Nanavati.

"Much has to be done before the Games kick off. We had a
Test event there at the complex but found many lacunas and
were forced to cancel it. We have submitted a list of the
improvements needed to the organisers and hoping for the good.
We would lose the home advantage unless the pool gets ready
for the camp to be held there in September," Nanavati said,
who is in the city for Senior National Swimming championship.

Nanavati said the swimming federation had provided a list
of 12 coaches to the SAI and even finalised the name of
Australian Alan Thompson as the chief coach, but deal could
not be materialised due to SAI`s "lethargic" attitude.

"The SFI was ready to spend hundred of dollars from its
own pocket. Thompson had agreed to coach the Indian team in
April this year but lethargic attitude of SAI proved to be a
hurdle. The officials kept the papers under wraps for long and
are still sitting over them as ducks. Good coaches can`t be
hired without handsome amount.”

"SAI had agreed to give Thompson USD 5,000 per month and
the SFI was ready to pay him another USD 2000 to make the
total figure USD 7,000 per month," Nanavati said.

When asked about the preparation of the Indian swimmers
for the Commonwealth Games, Nanavati said the players are
working hard to raise their qualifying standard.

"We have not been able to win a medal at CWG and hoping
to put up a good show this time. We have pushed the
qualification bar a bit high. The qualification mark for the
team selection was eighth place in the last CWG in Melbourne
and sixth place in the last edition of the Asian Games.”

"But if required the selection panel consisting of
Ramanand Mukhopadhyaya, Arun Saha and S Pradeep Kumar might
provide some relaxation," Nanavati added.

"The last date for submitting the final team list for
CWG was August 25th but was extended to August 29th on SFI`s
request. The submission of team list for the Asian Games in
China in November is September 3rd. There would be no next
chances for the Indian Swimmers to touch the qualifying mark
later," he added.