Newly inaugurated indoor Aquatic Centre at Kalinga Stadium Elevates National Championships Experience
Bhubaneswar: The 39th Sub Junior and 49th Junior National Aquatic Championships 2023, currently underway at Bhubaneswar’s iconic Kalinga Sports Complex, has introduced a new era of swimming competition with the introduction of the state-of-the-art Indoor Aquatic Centre. This cutting-edge facility, already renowned for hosting international sporting events, has provided a transformative experience for young swimmers aged between 10-17 years, enhancing their performance and setting new national records.
The Indoor Aquatic Centre’s controlled environment has proved to be a game-changer, allowing swimmers to perform at their best under optimal conditions. The temperature-controlled water at 26 degrees and centralized air conditioning have negated the challenges posed by fluctuating weather, resulting in remarkable improvements in swimmers’ times and personal best records.
Naisha of Karnataka, who clinched the gold in the 100m backstroke for group II girls, highlighted the contrast between indoor and open pools, emphasizing the convenience of swimming in a fully air-conditioned environment. She shared, “This is my first experience of an indoor pool, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. The air conditioning, even in changing rooms, is a welcome change from the usual warm conditions.”
Ridhima Veerendra Kumar, a prolific teen swimmer with international representation, noted that the Indoor Aquatic Centre offers sub-junior and junior swimmers a glimpse of international competition conditions, bridging the gap between local and global stages. “The fantastic indoor facility provides young swimmers with the exposure of racing in a fully air-conditioned environment, early in their career,” stated Ridhima, who secured gold in the 100m backstroke for group I girls.
Shirin, who claimed Silver in the 1500m freestyle, praised the facility’s impact on performance, acknowledging the faster times swimmers can achieve due to the ideal conditions provided. She also lauded the comprehensive amenities, including top-class starting blocks, changing rooms, seating areas for spectators, and separate holding areas for swimmers before their races.
This revolutionary environment is also creating excitement among participants from Kerala. Joseph Jose, part of the Kerala swim team competing in Group I boys, expressed his delight at the opportunity to swim in an indoor facility for the first time. “We are all so excited to be here and enjoy this facility and clock our best times,” he said.
With over 900 swimmers from 25 states participating, the 39th Sub Junior and 49th Junior National Aquatic Championships 2023 is a pivotal event. This championship serves as a qualifying meet for the upcoming Asian Age Group Championships in the Philippines, scheduled for December. The Indoor Aquatic Centre has undeniably elevated the competition experience for these young athletes, setting new standards for swimming excellence on the national stage.