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Home / Football / Can’t remember eating so much and not working out: Sunil Chhetri

Can’t remember eating so much and not working out: Sunil Chhetri

With all sporting events suspended, and most training centres and national camps shut, what are athletes doing with their forced leisure time? Everyday a top athlete will write about her or his experience of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. This is Sunil Chhetri, India’s football captain who has scored 72 international goals in 115 games. He also leads Bengaluru FC.

football Updated: Mar 25, 2020 20:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri(HT Photo)

Not in the best of moods after our ISL-6 campaign ended—and with it our football season—in Kolkata, I saw it in the news application I subscribe to. At a time when the number of deaths worldwide was around 2,000, I read on my phone that the coronavirus could claim million lives or more. Scaremongering isn’t my idea of fun, so I ignored it.

There is no better high in the off-season than planning a vacation, so my wife Sonam and I were working out the details of catching the Northern Lights in Finland with a stopover in Zurich. It would also have compensated for the trip to Croatia that didn’t materialise last year because Sonam was down with dengue. It turned out to be the second vacation we couldn’t do though, thankfully, we have got our money back. One short trip we did do was to Kabini Forest (in Karnataka), where in one day we were lucky to see tigers twice! This we could do before the forest locked down.

Since then, Sonam and I have given leave to our domestic staff and stayed indoors. We do household chores—among my responsibilities is doing the dishes—cook, chat, watch television, play 9 cards and even cricket in the corridor. And eat stuff such as chole puri, samosas and vegan pizzas and get fat.

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I was struggling with a hamstring issue over the past couple of months and have opted for PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment. That means I can’t move for a week or 10 days. It also means that for the past fortnight or so, I have only been eating. Can’t remember when that happened last.

Once my leg heals, and depending on the doctor’s advice, I will start biking or running. But other than exercising, I am not stepping out. Sonam too is working from home, though managing hotels in Kolkata that way is not easy. There may still be people who find no reason to take precautions despite how this is spreading but we haven’t signed up with them. It has pretty much been accepted that social distancing is the best way to try and flatline the curve, so who are we to disagree?

My parents in Delhi have also been told to stay housebound and they have assured me they are. My sister and her husband too stay in Delhi and are not stepping out. In Kolkata, I know my mom-in-law is staying in and difficult though it is for my father-in-law Subrata Bhattacharya (former India and Mohun Bagan defender), he too has said he is not going out.

As told to Dhiman Sarkar