‘Shallow’ pool hits promising career

cost of negligence?A photo of the swimming pool (left) released by the boy’s family showing the low water level during the warm-up session; Sagar at AIIMS.Photos: Special Arrangement  

: One dive into a “shallow pool” has shattered the dreams of an 11-year-old budding swimming champion.

Sagar, a Class VII student who suffered neck and spinal injuries during a district school diving competition at CRPF campus in Kadarpur here on Thursday, underwent an eight-hour-long surgery at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences on Saturday.

The doctors treating Sagar have told his family that he may not be able to swim anymore. “Sagar Rana has suffered serious cervical spine injuries. He has been operated today. He may be paralysed down chest for life,” said Dr. Amit Gupta, AIIMS spokesperson.

The family has lodged an FIR against the event organisers claiming that the water in the pool was dirty and not up to the stipulated level.

“It all happened in front of my eyes. In less than five minutes the swimming career of my son was over. All because of utter negligence of the event organisers who failed to ensure adequate level of water in the pool,” said Sushil Rana, the mother of the boy.

A resident of Gandhi Nagar in Gurgaon, Sagar had participated in the junior national aquatic championship in Bengaluru in June and had a promising career ahead of him, said his coach Ravindra.

Crushed hopes

“The doctors have told us that he may not be able to swim again. Sagar has been repeatedly asking us whether he will be able to go back to the swimming pool or not. We have not broken the news to him. He may not be able to take it. He had given everything to the sport, and we had a lot of hopes from him,” said Sushil.

Sagar was the first to jump into the pool on Thursday for warm-up before the event. “As soon as he jumped, his head hit the bottom of the pool. He could not even shout and just managed take his head out of the water and wave for help. He was immediately rushed to AIIMS in a CRPF ambulance. He told us that the water was not clean and he could not judge the depth. It was just above three feet and insects were also present in the pool,” said Sagar's uncle Ravinder.

Two more contestants, Jasmine and Vikrant, suffered minor injuries during the warm-up session for the same reasons. Jasmine, 17, injured her forehead and nose.

The competition, however, went on as scheduled. The family claimed the organisers changed the water and filled up the swimming pool after the accidents during the warm-up.

Sagar’s family has accused the event orgainser, Sandeep Tokas, of negligence in the FIR.

A case has been registered under Sections 336 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code.

Coach blamed

Sandeep Tokas, who had once coached Shivani Kataria, India's only female swimmer at Rio Olyimpics 2016, blamed Sagar’s coach for the accident. “The boy was hurt during warm-up and it was the responsibility of his coach to guide him. The boy jumped at the shallow end and was injured. The organisers are not to be blamed for it. The swimming pool at CRPF is an Olympic-size pool,” said Mr. Tokas, a member of the ad-hoc committee appointed by Haryana Swimming Association.

The event was organised by the ad-hoc committee after the district swimming association was recently dissolved.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 7:04:43 PM |

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