FEPSGA: Athletes protest poor state of swimming pool in Bauchi
The pool had been abandoned for seven years
Some of the athletes at the ongoing Federal Public Service Games in Bauchi on Thursday protested the poor state of the swimming pool at the Multipurpose Indoor Sports Hall.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some of the swimmers at the venue of the event complained about the filthy nature of the pool’s water.
One of them, Atimapre Ebi, representing the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said: “The water is too dirty for human beings to swim in and we were told that it has been abandoned for over seven years.
“We were supposed to have started the event on Wednesday, but it was rescheduled for Thursday due to the poor nature of the water.
“However, there has been no improvement in the condition of the pool.
“I arrived here on Wednesday and came straight to the pool and I discovered that the pool was habouring fingerlings and spirogyra and up to now they are still there.
“What we want now is for the organisers to take the event to the Abuja National Stadium where there is a standard pool and where we did our preparations before the tournament.”
Another swimmer, Oyetayo Afolabi, representing the National Assembly Service Commission at the Games, also complained that the water was unhygienic for human being to swim in.
He said he was not ready to swim in the pool.
Afolabi said: “The water is dirty and swimming in it has negative health implications that may not manifest immediately but later in life, in spite of the so-called treatment they said they have done.
“I will not advice even my enemy to swim in that pool because it is like committing suicide.
“This is not the first time we have had this kind of an ugly situation.
“We had a similar experience in 2016 in Jos.
“And we are now having a repeat in Bauchi.
“We have spent one week scouting for a pool to execute what has brought us here to no avail.”
In a reaction, the Head of Technical for the Swimming Event, Aluku Amaebi, described the protest by the athletes as “unnecessary and due to misinformation”.
He said his reaction was also in view of the fact that the swimmers were told that the pool has been abandoned for over seven years by the state government.
Amaebi said: “The management of the pool has diluted three drums of chlorine and other chemicals in the last three days to make the pool fit.
“Therefore, it is normal for spirogyra to develop, coupled with the trees surrounding the pool.
“The water is very fit for any competition and has no health hazard, as claimed by the athletes.
“Therefore, it is only the poor swimmers who are complaining, because they are used to hotel swimming pools, which are smaller in size.”
Amaebi said early preparation of at least six months before the commencement of the tournament was vital, and not the two months of preparations it took the management.
He added: “However, I insist that the water is well treated and good for any competition.”
One other official, who was one of those managing the pool, while speaking on condition of anonymity, accepted that the water was not fit for the tournament.
He also attributed the pool’s usage for the Games to a late release of funds.
The official said: “This pool was abandoned about seven years ago and if funds could have been released to us, at least seven days ago, we would have reactivated it before now.
“But we got the money on Tuesday and it is not possible to perform miracles.”
The National Public Relations Officer of FEPSGA, Wasagu Nasiru, said he reasoned with the athletes on their protest.
He said: “But they should have written to the Organising Committee for a redress of the situation.”
Nasiru assured nonetheless that something would be done to enable the athletes participate in the Games.