World Aquatics have unveiled a first-ever high-altitude pool. World Aquatics

World Aquatics has unveiled a first-ever high-altitude pool in Bhutan as part of their Pools for All Programme initiative launched in 2019.

Pools for All's aim is to guarantee that every National Member Federation of World Aquatics has access to top-notch aquatics facilities for the promotion of aquatic sports. Built under the meticulous oversight and financial support of World Aquatics, the freshly minted pool in Bhutan stands proudly at an impressive elevation of 8200 feet (2400 meters), marking it as the highest swimming pool globally. 

This lofty altitude brings a distinctive and thrilling aspect to the facility, offering swimmers of all proficiencies an unparalleled experience. Husain Al-Musallam, the President of World Aquatics, expressed his delight following the exhibition.

"We are immensely proud to have collaborated with the Bhutan Aquatics Federation to bring this project to fruition. Together, we can create opportunities for and inspire athletes and aquatics enthusiasts across Bhutan," he said.

Kinley Lhendup and Sangay Tenzin, swimmers hailing from Bhutan and training at the World Aquatics Training Centre in Phuket, Thailand, shared their thoughts on the importance of the pool inauguration for enhancing aquatic involvement throughout their nation. "Growing up as swimmers dreaming of competing on the world stage without a pool to learn or train in has presented challenges to overcome," said Lhendup.

"Today, Bhutan dives into a new era of aquatics. I couldn't be more excited about what this facility in Thimphu means not only for Sangay and me personally but especially for the future of aquatic sports in our country," he added.

World Aquatics have unveiled a first-ever high-altitude pool in Bhutan. WORLD AQUATICS
World Aquatics have unveiled a first-ever high-altitude pool in Bhutan. WORLD AQUATICS

"As we inaugurate Bhutan's first pool today, I am incredibly proud," shared Tokyo 2020 Olympian and Olympic Solidarity scholarship holder Tenzin. “Today marks a victory for all lovers of aquatic sport."

The inauguration ceremony witnessed the presence of dignitaries from World Aquatics, the Bhutan Olympic Committee, local and regional authorities, presidents of Bhutanese national federations representing four Olympic sports, and officials from the Bhutan Department of Tourism.

HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, the President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, praised the opening of Bhutan's inaugural aquatics facility, heralding it as the dawn of a new era for aquatics in the nation. His Royal Highness expressed confidence that the swimming pool would become a central hub for aspiring swimmers, seasoned athletes, and recreational enthusiasts alike, underlining its pivotal role in fostering aquatics participation and nurturing elite athletic talent.

"We are delighted to witness the opening of this facility," said Sonam Karma Tshering, President of the Bhutan Aquatics Federation. "The Pools For All facility not only opens doors for competitive swimming but also serves as a fantastic facility for our youth to develop their love for and talent in aquatics sports. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to World Aquatics for their unwavering support and partnership."