The importance of swimming as a life skill, as well as high-focus Olympic sport, was underlined for AIPS Young Reporters during the latest course organised by the International Sports Press Association.
FINA, the world aquatics federation, is working intensely on promoting the importance of learning to swim alongside staging 75 events in six disciplines as well as progressing its own governance reforms. The latter focuses on more transparency, democracy, equality and non-discrimination.
As FINA president Husain Al-Musallam said, there are only about 300 elite athletes in the world so a wider focus of the federation’s mission must be the encouragement of swimming among children as not only a life skill but also a life-saving skill.
Al-Musallam said: “Do you know how many people have died from drowning? Of course, the reasons for each death are different but one of the key ones is not the ability to swim.
“Another pressing issue for every person is health problems. How often does the doctor send patients to the pool to improve the conditions of their back, shoulders or arms? I am sure everyone, at least once in their life.”
Al-Musallam was elected in the most complex of circumstances in June amid the Covid-19 pandemic and only two months before the start of the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo which saw FINA boast the highest level of media exposure.
He is leading a reform process which makes FINA relevant not only to it 300 elite competitors – fewer events but bigger – but to all the 13 million swimmers worldwide.
As Al-Musallam added: “Aquatics has to be ready for the 21st century.”
Source: AIPS Media
Photo Credit: Anna Szilagyi