ISL pro series to fund swimmers until the Tokyo Olympics

LONDON: the professional International Swimming League ( ISL ) will finance its contracted athletes with monthly payments from September until next year's rescheduling Tokyo Olympics , the series announced on Friday.

It also plans to round up all of its 320 swimmers for a special five-week training and competition event, possibly filmed behind closed doors and with Australia as the likely location, from October 14 to November. 17 subjects to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hungary's 2016 triple Olympic gold medalist Katinka Hosszu told Reuters the 'Solidarity Program' would provide reassurance in a time of uncertainty, with some countries locked up as they battle the new coronavirus.

For us athletes, it is really important to get past this time frame and everyone will be able to prepare for next summer, he said.

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They have some security, as well as some racing and training fields to look forward to.

The Tokyo Games, originally scheduled to start in July this year, have been postponed until July 23 to August. 8, 2021 due to the pandemic.

The ISL launched last year as a fast-paced competition with 10 teams from Europe and North America featuring an array of world and Olympic champions and bankrolled by Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Grigorishin.

Olympic and world champion Caeleb Dressel, who competed in the inaugural ISL season, liked the idea of ​​doing it again but stopped short of committing to a return, due in part to uncertainty with his existing sponsorships.

I don't know well in advance what my schedule will be like ... or how the companies I'm involved with right now are going to need me within those months, Dressel told Reuters.

I mean, I would love to compete in ISL, it was great last year, but I can't say 100% I am doing this because there are just so many uncertainties right now for everyone.

Grigorishin told Reuters that hired swimmers would each get $ 1,500 guaranteed per month from September 1 to July 1, with $ 11 million set aside to cover salaries, bonuses, ambassadorial payments and awards in a condensed season.

The total cost of paying for everything could go up to $ 20 million, although that could be cut through television and sponsorship deals and depends on the planned five-week 'radical swimming event' to be held.

During these five weeks we will organize 10 games, such as preliminaries, Grigorishin said. And maybe a month later we organized finals, just one match for four teams. This is our ideal setting.

But it is difficult to say. Travel is not easy now and there may be many restrictions. Therefore, we have to find a place for swimmers to gather them.

I think there will still be some restrictions on large public events until the end of the year, so we may have to organize this competition in a television program format without viewers.

He said Australia, Budapest, Japan or Florida were options with Australia as the leader: We asked swimmers and coaches about their preferences and most of them liked Australia.

The pandemic has put the sports calendar on hold, with many athletes forced to train at home.

The European water sports championships scheduled for Budapest in May have been postponed until August, subject to review.