The facilities at the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee aquatics complex came in for high praise on Tuesday from FINA president, Dr. Julio Cesar Maglione, who is on his first visit to the country.

“This is like any other Olympic pool, I have seen. It is nice that India has built such an excellent facility in connection with the Commonwealth Games and I hope that the swimmers and divers have had a great time here. It is absolutely wonderful to be in Delhi during the time of Games and to witness that India has offered the best of facilities to the participants, both athletes and officials. Your hospitality too is quite wonderful,” Dr. Maglione told The Hindu.

Asked whether India would be able to host other major international competitions in the near future, the former National breaststroke champion from Uruguay and member of the International Olympic Committee was candid: “We have already finalised our calendar upto 2015.”

“But that is only five years away and if India is willing to host a major championship, including the Worlds, I cannot find any reason why the world swimming community would resist itself from coming to Delhi and compete here. However, a proper bid has to be made by your federation at the right time.”

Firm

Dr. Maglione was emphatic when queried on whether FINA would review the decision to ban racer suits from the start of the current year. “No chance. It was a decision taken after lot of deliberations at various levels. It was agreed upon by all the members that we do not want our sport to be overtaken by technology. So, there is absolutely no thought to review that decision. Of course, it has had its fallout, especially as the timings have come down. But it would be only a matter of time before the swimmers come to grips with the new situation.

“We do not want to be labelled as cheats, of using technological aids to support the swimmers. If you look at it closely, you will realise that it was a different mode of doping, which FINA does not support in any way.”

The future challenges were many, Dr. Maglione said, but swimming as a sport will survive as long as it remained one of the major disciplines at the Olympics.

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