Professional Greek swimmers are speaking out against restrictions on training amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the current restrictions, only 75 swimmers in the entire country are able to train, a huge blow not only to top talent outside of those 75 top swimmers, but also to any swimmers wanting to get in and train regardless of their Olympic chances.
Last week, two-time Olympian Andreas Vazaios posted an open letter to the government and to the competent bodies, demanding the immediate lifting of the measures.
“We only ask for a return to the previous situation, when even the athletes of clubs with ambitions could train,” Vazaios said.
“While swimming is at a standstill, football and basketball have 1 to 5 new cases of COVID-19 positivity every week but this does not stop their training or their championship. No competitions of any kind have been organised for our sport in recent months,” he continued.
The protest letter has been reposted by many elite Greek athletes to gain visibility and attention.
At the time of writing, Greece has reported 205,120 covid-19 cases and 6,758 related deaths.
It should be noted that the swimmers who signed the letter do not face a problem with their training, as they are included in the special lists of athletes who are allowed to use sport facilities. However, they express their frustration for their fellow athletes.
“After suspending for a long time the possibility for athletes of national interest to train, about 10 days ago the government allowed a selection of 400 athletes to return to their training in the water,” top Greek backstroker Apostolos Christou explained to SwimSwam Italia’s Aglaia Pezzato.
“They were again denied swimming on Wednesday. They have reduced the authorized numbers only to swimmers with possible Olympic chances for Tokyo. In addition, the coaches do not receive financial aid from the state.”