Get swimmers back in the water — Buhain

SWIMMING is another major sports which can resume soon in the safest possible manner.
The Congress of Philippine Aquatics (COPA), led by two-time Olympian Eric Buhain, urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseses (IATF-EID) to take another look at swimming and the possibilility of allowing it to resume, along with basketball, football and other sports.
Speaking at the third TOPS “Usapang Sports” held via Zoom conference because of the coronavirus pandemic, Buhain said “Swimmers can safely get back to the waters because there is still no evidence that the coronavirus can be spread through pools.”
A multi-awarded national swimmer, Buhain even said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) in the United States and other health experts have discovered that chlorine and bromine inactivate the virus in the water.
Buhain claimed there about 30 US Oylmpic medalists who already sent a letter to the White House citing the same study.
He said even Department of Health Sec. Francisco Duque said the coronavirus cannot survive in chlorinated water in the pool.
“Yun ang lamang namin sa ibang sports, kami nasa swimming pool, na safe,” explained Buhain.
“Maybe the risk is coming out of the water. Pero siyempre may mga safety protocols din kami na susundin, like yun physical distancing. Wala naman manonood at yun mga bata hatid-sundo ng magulang.”
He said COPA and other swimming groups have sent a proposal to the IATF-EID as early as last April.
“But we understand the difficult job of the IATF and other government agencies to fight the spread of the virus. We know that we deal with a lot of 20 years old and below swimmers kaya hindi madali,” added Buhain.
“Iba naman kasi yun thinking ng ibang tao na a lot of people jumping to the pool at the same time parang sa mga resorts. Iba sa swimming, na one swimmer per lane.”
He expressed confidence that swimming facilities will be re-opened soon.
“Hopefully, pag may napagbigyan, magkakaroon ng bandwagon. Ma-realize na pwede naman pala ang swimming.”
Eatlier, Buhain said swimming is looking good with more young and talented swimmers from the provinces coming up.
“I believe we have a good future in swimming. Naniniwala ako na madami pang magagaling na mga bata ang darating, lalo na yun mga nasa probinsya,” said Buhain, who represented the country in the Olympics in Seoul, Korea in 1988 and Barcelona, Spain in 1992.
He said young swimmers need only proper motivation and good training to turn them into world-class athletes.
“Last year, buong taon ako nag-ikot sa mga provinces kasama ang mga kaibigan kong coaches. Madami akong nakita na talagang magagaling na mga bata, na kulang lang siguro sa guidance,” added Buhain.
“Actually, kaya nabuo itong COPA. Our main purpose is education. Yun mai-share ko yun experience ko as an Olympian at experiences ng mga kaibigan kong coaches. Nagsama-sama kami para maturuan yun iba’t ibang swimming clubs.”
“I think in five to six years, we can produce real good swimmers na makapagbibigay sa atin ng karangalan. Not just single-gold medalist but yun talagang talented swimmers who can win multiple golds. Sa Cebu, Davao at General Santos madami na kami nakita na talagang magagaling.”
Robert Andaya

Buhain: Optimistic.

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