With the gyms closed, training camps being postponed and the uncertainty of the 2020 edition of the summer Olympics looming due to the Coronavirus, athletes from all over the world are disheartened and morally discharged right now.
A couple of days ago, we got in touch with 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik who opened up about the kind of mental impact COVID-19 is having on the hopefuls and why more people need to talk about it.
Today, we approached some of the other leading sportspersons, who were looking forward to representing their country at the biggest sporting event in the world and hustle to win the honour of getting an Olympic medal placed around their neck.
Captain of the Indian hockey team, Manpreet Singh and ace shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa share their thoughts on the contagious virus which has led to the global sports apocalypse and how it is that the Olympic aspirants are preparing for the upcoming event.
âWe're all very much aware of the current situation, but the important thing for us is to concentrate on what's to be done right. We've all been briefed by doctors and our support staff in the best way possible, and currently, we're in the middle of our training camp, where we are undergoing training as usual,â says Manpreet Singh.
âBeing an important phase in our preparations for the Olympics, we are not looking at the things which are not in our control, the only thing that is in our control is to train well, and make sure we're following all the instructions," he added.
Former World Rank 10 in Womenâs Double, Ashwini Ponnappa says: âThe COVID-19 has definitely thrown everything off track. The first focus would be to stay healthy and be safe during this period.â
âAs weâve travelled so much, I am not going out and mostly sticking to staying at home. In this day and age doing fitness at home to stay fit is possible. So definitely, [it is] going to be doing exercises with loop bands and therabands and racket drills at home to stay fit and work on some finger power until we can get back on court,â she adds.
We also got to hear from Rushdee Warley, CEO- Inspire Institute of Sport, where many Indian Olympic hopefuls had practised and have been practising for the Tokyo edition. Hereâs what he said:
âThe facility hasnât been shut down; we are operational with training happening through the day. We are, however, taking strict precautionary measures since all the athletes and staff live in a closed community here in IIS and the neighbouring JSW Vidyanagar township.
We organised an informative and interactive session on raising awareness about #COVID19 for all our athletes and staff
A team of doctors from Jindal Sanjeevani hospital spoke about the precautionary measures that can be taken amidst the pandemic. #CoronaVirusUpdate pic.twitter.com/3wPuH3b4V6
âThe athletes and staff who were not on campus as of March 13 and were planning to return here, have been advised to stay home. We had a team of doctors from the Jindal Sanjeevani Multi-speciality Hospital come to the institute for an informative session on the COVID-19, raising awareness and precautionary measures for those inside the institute.â
âThere are some foreign coaches here currently, they are staying here on campus. A few coaches who were travelling for the past couple of weeks have been advised not to come to the campus until further notice. Two of our foreign staff were away and are currently self-isolating in India away from IIS. They will return to IIS after 14 days and be tested again to ensure that they are negative for COVID-19.â
âAll the athletes present here right now are training as per their schedule. We are meeting with the concerned authorities periodically to decide on a further course of action.â
Every day, more and more people are being tested positive for the virus. In India, over 150 positive cases have been reported while Japan, where the 2020 Olympics were scheduled to be held, has reported over 880 cases.
While the qualifying rounds of different sports from all over the world are being cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the mega-tournament, which is no more than four months away, doesnât look to be in good shape.