BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Megan de Almeida Goa’s star medal contender in diving for the forthcoming 37th National Games in Goa is excited to represent her State, but the inability to practice diving in a proper pool since 2019 has left her with a heartache.
Megan has won accolades for Goa at the national junior and sub-junior competitions but the lack of proper training facilities for the last many years appears to be tripping her hopes of bringing glory for Goa on home soil, yet she has not given up on winning.
Tiles are being fitted for the diving pool in Campal – the venue for swimming and diving during the National Games – and work should be completed within a month's time.
“Sports Minister Govid Gaude visited the pool recently to see how the work is going on and he has assured it will be finished within a month,” informed Albert Dourado, in charge of the swimming pools in Campal and Mapusa.
Any sportsperson needs to practice regularly to excel and Megan’s father Remy believes his daughter has missed out a lot since the diving pool has not been available for her not just for days but years.
“Since the time the diving pool has not been operational, I have had to take my daughter to the Ponda pool to practice and practising there without a proper coach is not the best,” moans Remy.
“I can practice simple manoeuvres in Ponda but preparation for the national games is different. I need to practice different and difficult manoeuvres for the National Games for which the diving pool in Campal is best,” opined Megan.
The diving pool is inaccessible to divers but the swimming pool is being used for practice by athletes preparing for the triathlon. “Since the sea is rough, athletes participating in triathlon have started using our pool to practice,” averred Albert who is confident the swimming and diving facilities will be amongst the best during the competition.
“Goa once had a five-member diving team and since there is no facility or even a diving coach available my daughter is the only diver to represent Goa during the National Games,” laments Remy.
Annika Madgavkar was the first to win the senior as well as junior diving nationals when she was sixteen and since then divers from the State have been a force to reckon with in the sport.
“Once the diving pool is completed, Goa will be ready for the National Games as far as swimming and diving are concerned. Apart from the parking bay, the area is ready for athletes. We have people using the pool from 6 am till 8 pm,” informed Albert.
Incidentally, Geeta Nagvenkar, Executive Director of Sports Authority of Goa (SAG), was asked to hold additional charge of Director Admin of SAG and secretary Goa Football Development Council (GFDC) on Friday despite the onus of conducting the National Games.