Ranchi: National swimming coach Pradeep Kumar on Monday disagreed with former swimming champion Nisha Millet's view that the standard of swimming in the women's section had declined in recent years.

"I won't say it has come down. You may say not going up faster," Kumar said when asked whether he shared Millet's reported opinion that the women's swimming had gone down.
   
"But I can say that women swimmers are not making huge improvements like the men who have really been performing well during the last six years," Kumar added.
   
Stating that men have closed in the gap with international swimmers, particularly with the Asian swimmers, Kumar said they have done well in the Asian age group competitions.

At the same time, Kumar said, both men and women swimmers need government support to carry on in their pursuit of improving their timings.
   
"We don't have any qualifying competition in the country (which could have enabled swimmers to incur less expenditure). They have to go to abroad to participate and qualify for the Olympics. So, we need support from the government like training, travel and other things," he said.

The swimmers have to bear their own expenses if they desired to participate in Olympic qualifiers abroad.

(Agencies)