Sports academies remain shut in Ludhiana, athletes left in the lurch
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the sporting economy to a shuddering halt. With the majority of sports academies closed in Ludhiana, players are left in the lurch. With the rising Covid-19 cases, coaches are giving online training to the players which according to them is not proving to be beneficial for them.
Players have stated that there are many games that require a team and proper strategy and practicing alone at home is not serving the purpose. Sitting at home for the last five months is affecting players’ health and future performances.
Prince Kumar, 15, who aims to become a Judo coach said that he is unable to practice and maintain fitness levels, and with uncertainty looming over sports events, he fears a loss of competitiveness, opportunities and other benefits.
A gold medallist in the Commonwealth Judo Championship held in Jaipur in 2018, Prince is practicing for the Khelo Indian Games scheduled to be held next year. He said, “Due to financial constraints, I faced many challenges when the lockdown was imposed in March. Maintaining my fitness is a struggle. My coach sends me pre-recorded videos so I am practicing at home.”
Nutrition is another aspect that has taken a beating during the lockdown. While players in training camps are assured of a proper diet, it is difficult for sportspersons in rural areas.
Judoka Priya Sharma, 21, who represented the country in the World University Games 2019 Summer Universiade said, “I am practicing at home for two hours daily and due to financial problems, I am not able to take a protein-rich diet that I used to have earlier at the college. I am residing near Tibba road which is very far away from the Guru Nanak Stadium and I’m not able to go there as I don’t have funds to commute.”
While boxer, Mandeep Kaur from Chakkar village said that she is unable to do the kind of workout or practice, she normally does in a camp. “At the camps, we get a lot of exposure, proper guidance from coaches. But now, I am just able to practice with the limited infrastructure available here in my village academy. I practice for four hours daily to be able to participate in the Olympics to be held next year.”
In 2015, Kaur won a gold medal in the junior World Boxing Championship held in Taipei. Earlier, she had won a gold medal at the Nation’s Boxing Cup held in Serbia.
Sarbjot Singh, 17, a player from the Malwa Hockey Academy, Ludhiana said that hockey is a team game and without all team members there is no use of practicing it. Hailing from Jalandhar, Singh said, “Since March, the academy has been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and all players were asked to go home. I have been playing this sport for the last six years and miss the team members in the field.”
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