Today, June 24, only two weeks into his new mandate, FINA President Captain Husain Al Musallam signed an agreement with the Bhutan Aquatics Federation (BAF) to build the first ever swimming pool in Bhutan, located on edge of the Himalayas mountain range.

As part as the Pools for All Programme, an initiative launched in 2019 and intended to ensure that all FINA National Member Federations have access to the best possible aquatic facilities to promote aquatic sports, FINA will finance and supervise the construction of the pool in the country’s capital, Thimphu. The pool will be located at 8200ft /2400m, making it one of the highest in the world and the first in the country. With this project, Bhutan becomes the first Federation benefiting from this Development Activity programme, an area of strong focus driven by President Al Musallam.

After thanking FINA for the support, the Bhutan Aquatics Federation said: “We are confident that under the leadership of Captain Husain Al-Musallam the development of aquatic sports will be taken to even greater heights. The BAF looks forward to working closely with FINA for the development of aquatic sports in Bhutan.

The second agreement signed today covered the creation of a new FINA Development Centre in Franschhoek, South Africa.

FINA teamed up with Swimming South Africa to form a hub for the development and growth of Aquatics in Africa that will welcome FINA Scholarship Programmes, as well as Coaches and Officials Education and Certification Programmes.

Swimming South Africa President Alan Fritz said: “We are very grateful to FINA and FINA President for the support and for delivering this significant project. Aquatic sports in Africa, and in our region in particular, will truly benefit from this new Development Centre and we intend on boosting the performance of the African athletes.” 

These two latest initiatives underline Al Musallam’s vision to strengthen all Development Activities and provide assistance to all FINA National Member Federations in need, without discrimination. FINA Executive Director Brent Nowicki also took part in the signing ceremony this morning at the FINA HQ in Lausanne. 

As the continent is speeding up with Olympic preparation, South Africa recently qualified two athletes (Michelle Weber and Michael McGlynn) for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Marathon Swimming event. Namibia also clinched a historic qualification for the Games with Philip Seidler securing the Africa slot at the stake at the recent FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier in Setubal (POR).