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Swimmers take the plunge for fitness

- Bankipore Club organises competition

The seventh Bankipore Swimming Competition organised by the city’s prestigious Bankipore Club on Sunday saw participation of 99 people.

The contest started around 8.30am but many swimming enthusiasts reached the venue at 7.30am.

“Our club is one of the oldest in the city. Established in 1865, it was initially known as European Club. Its name was changed into Bankipore Club. The swimming competition is the annual event of our club. We have been organising the event every year without a gap,” said Major Manjit Singh Sarla, a member of the club and one of the organisers.

Sarla added: “The competition was held in the age categories of under 11, 15, 19, 40 and above 40. Freestyle, backstroke and butterfly were the other categories for girls and boys. We provided certificates and trophies to the winners of various categories.”

Sarla said Bankipore was among the three clubs in the city where members can avail the swimming pool facility.

“It’s sad that our city doesn’t have too many swimming pools. People, nowadays, have very less interest in swimming, especially children. They don’t take interest in the sport. They are more interested in indoor games and this isn’t a very good sign,” he said.

Justice Samrendra Pratap Singh, a retired Patna High Court judge who was the chief guest on the occasion, showered praises on the Bankipore Club.

“Swimming has several benefits. It helps in becoming physically and mentally fit. The best thing about the sport is that it helps in burning calories very fast and keeps you in shape. The Bankipore Club is doing a great job by organising the competition every year,” said Singh.

Those who took the plunge were an elated lot.

“I have won in all the categories under-15. That included freestyle, butterfly and backstroke. This was because of my regular practice and determination. My father (Ravi Prakash) always inspired me to take up swimming seriously. He is a state-level champion,” said Astha Prakash, a Class X student of Notre Dame Academy.

Prakash added that she would like to continue with her hobby in future and if she gets a chance she would like to make a career in swimming.

Those who could not win in any of the categories, however, were not disappointed.

Puja Sharma (15), who was one of the participants, said: “Winning and losing don’t matter, participation does. I love to swim and I would continue doing it.”