The athletes participating in the triathlon event at the 36th edition of the National Games are slated to cover 20 Km on a bike in addition to a 5Km walk in the city of Gandhinagar and a 750m swim in the Sabarmati river.
But, in the latest development, the water leg of the triathlon event has been moved to the limits of the Olympic standard indoor swimming pool in the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar.
The change comes after the organisers of the tournament declared the water body could lead to swimmers contracting infections as the river was described as unhygienic.
The Amdavad Municipal Corporation had conducted multiple tests in order to ascertain the quality of the river ever since Gujarat was announced as the host for the multi-sport extravaganza.
Following the arrival of the test results, the vice-president of the Gujarat State Olympic Association, Virendra Nanavati, said that showed the quality of water wasn’t nice. And since the water was polluted, the event should be moved from the Sabarmati river, he suggested.
He added that the drainage water being released into the river made the venue an unsuitable one and that the swimmers who would come into direct contact with the water, could run the risk of infections.
He said that the committee hoped that the conditions would change with the arrival of the monsoon season as the water might get washed and cleaned, but things did not turn out as assumed.
And hence the eleventh-hour change to the confines of the indoor 50m long swimming pool in IIT was ratified.
The river was originally chosen as the location due to its proximity to the venues of the event’s other segments. Porbandar was another option, but it wasn’t feasible to move the event there due to logistical constraints. And Gujarat’s crocodile conservation project made it difficult to come up with alternate rivers or lakes.
At the make-shift venue, two swimmers will occupy a single lane and jump into the water in two waves and will have to do 15 laps.
The road outside the premier institute was a bumpy one which could be hazardous for the biking event, but the city administration quelled any such uncertainty as they relaid a 5Km stretch of road within a matter of 10 days.