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Posted at: May 18, 2019, 7:36 AM; last updated: May 18, 2019, 7:36 AM (IST)

All-weather swimming pool in Ambala by next year

Seasonal pool being upgraded to 10 lanes at a cost of Rs 18 crore
All-weather swimming pool in Ambala by next year
The work under progress to convert a seasonal swimming pool at the War Heroes Memorial Stadium in Ambala Cantt into an all-weather facility. Photo: Dev Dutt Sharma

Nitish Sharma

Budding swimmers will get Haryana’s first government all-weather 10-lane swimming pool of Olympics' standard in Ambala Cantonment next year. The present seasonal swimming pool at the War Heroes Memorial Stadium is being upgraded to an all-weather pool at a cost of Rs 18 crore.

The existing pool was constructed in 1989 and the then general secretary of the Haryana Swimming Association, JG Sharma, had played an important role in its construction. The pool remained closed from 2009 to 2014 for different reasons. It was again started in 2015 after renovation. As Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij’s brother Rajinder Vij is the president of the District Swimming Association, the government was requested in 2017 to upgrade it.

Manmohan, secretary of District Swimming Association, says, “Swimmers from Ambala used to qualify for national championships but fail to perform to win medals due to a lack of practice. The existing swimming pool used to remain closed for at least five months in a year, as it was not possible for swimmers to practise in cold weather conditions. But it is being converted into an all-weather poll so that it can be used throughout the year”.

District swimming coach Ram Sharma says, “There are nearly 40 professional swimmers and around 60 beginners who used to practise in the pool at the War Heroes Memorial Stadium but as it is being reconstructed, the camp has been shifted to a private school for the time being. In the absence of an all-weather pool our professional swimmers used to go to Pune and Bengaluru for practice and spend several lakhs of rupees”. 

“Two state championships have been organised here since 2015 and swimmers have won many medals at other state-level tournaments too. Besides, Himanshu had bagged two gold medals and one silver medal at the Kendriya Vidyalaya School National Competition in 2016, while four swimmers had qualified for the national school championship. Children used to qualify for the national championships but fail to win medals due to a lack of practice,” he adds.

Besides the new pool, the swimmers will also get the facility of a gymnasium. A pavilion and an office are also being constructed there. It will also be equipped with a solar power system. The reconstruction work was started last month and it is likely to be completed in October next year.

District Swimming Association president Rajinder Vij says, “The seasonal swimming pool is being converted into an all-weather pool. Swimmers will have the facility to practise all 12 months. We are hopeful that children after adequate practice will bring medals for Ambala district and also perform well at the international level”.

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