Former Indian Olympic breaststroker Adi Bharucha is apalled by the dismal state of aquatics in the city.
The 82-year-old, who participated in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, spoke to MiD DAY at a re-union function held at Prabhadevi yesterday.
Former Indian Olympic swimmer Adi Bharucha
Dinesh Damani, Motilal Bhatia, veteran coach Percy Haqim, 1952 Asian Games medallist K P Thakkar, Dronacharya awardee Kishan Singh were also honoured for their achievements in the sport. "There was an era when the city gave the country stalwarts in swimming, water polo and other aquatic sports.
"But where are we right now? Nowhere. So I feel that administrators should look to nurture talent and not have selfish motives to hold the chair for long." Bharucha feels the country is wasting money on sending athletes abroad for events where we do not stand a chance to win medals.
"We are a poor country where millions of children go to bed without food. If we do not feature in the top three of the Asian Games or Commonwealth Games, it makes no sense to pump in crores for athletes who are not medal prospects at events like Olympics," said the water polo veteran.
The breaststroke specialist also criticised the recently renovated Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Olympic Swimming Pool (MGMO) in Dadar, dubbing it incapable for hosting national or International events. "MGMO doesn't have the required space for even a goal judge. And with three pools it doesn't even leave space for proper seating arrangements, leave alone attaining Olympic standard facilities," he said.