Thinley Namgay 

The swimming pool that catered to many Bhutanese interested in swimming at the Swimming Pool Complex in Thimphu has remained closed since 2016.

The Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) under the Ministry of Education managed the swimming pool before 2016 and opened to swimmers six days a week. However, based on the consensus between the education ministry and the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), BOC took over the ownership of the area from the DYS in 2016 to renovate the swimming hall.

Chief programme officer with the DYS, Rinzin Wangdi, said that BOC came up with the proposal to build a multi-sports complex. “Thinking that it is for the youth, DYS handed the swimming hall and land to the BOC.”

According to BOC officials, the pool’s filtration, heating and piping system were not working.

They also claimed the size of the pool was small.

An official working in BOC, Tshering Zangmo, said that a feasibility study was carried out to change the whole structure of the swimming pool and renovation started.

She said that the size of the pool was way smaller than the one prescribed by the international swimming federation, FINA.  “FINA prescribed a swimming pool sized 25m by 20m.”

Tshering Zangmo said BOC planned to construct a new swimming pool at Babena. “FINA agreed to support us with the condition that the size is a minimum of 25m by 20m. We will be able to host regional tournaments.”

She said a Spanish company would be involved to carry out the technical works.

At the Swimming Pool Complex, the swimming pool room has been under locks for years.

BOC officials said they do not have any plans and are not sure whether they would close the old swimming pool or used it for other recreational purposes in the future.

Edited by Tashi Dema