‘Trying hard not to let the present scenario affect me’
Top athletes talk to HT about their experience of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. This is Udayan Mane, who is bound for the Tokyo Olympics as India’s second-highest ranked golfer and is the current order of merit leader on the Professional Golf Tour of India.Updated: Apr 23, 2020 16:23 IST
Life on tour is tough and when you are playing golf for a living, getting better at your craft keeps you occupied all the time. The shutdown of golf courses in Pune, where I am based, has robbed me of valuable practice. On a lighter note, the lockdown has freed me up for things I haven’t done in a while. Like last month (before the nationwide lockdown was announced), I summoned the mechanic to fix the washing machine, and when that didn’t work out, went out and bought a new one, combining the trip with the visit to pick up essential household goods.
The scene at the local grocer’s was an eye-opener. People seemed to be in panic and were buying items in large quantities. It seemed unnecessary as the situation in India was much better compared to other countries at that point of time. Back with the ingredients for my broccoli bruschetta and corn soup, I rustled up a healthy and tasty dinner and earned plaudits from my parents and elder brother. An alternate career awaits me if I were to change tack!
It isn’t a healthy habit to be distracted during mealtimes, but I could not put down The Alchemist (by Paulo Coelho) and brought it to the dining table. The lessons are relevant for a sportsman as the theme is about never giving up. Determination has got me where I am, and a possible shot at the Olympics based on a solid season and three consecutive wins on the Professional Golf Tour of India gives me immense satisfaction.
In real life too, I am lucky to be surrounded by people who have important life lessons to share. Some days ago, my maternal grandfather, a retired Supreme Court judge, spoke on love and how it is important not to get too attached to anything or else you can get hurt. I’m trying hard not to let the present scenario affect me.
I don’t get bored easily, but one can’t surf the internet or watch Netflix all the time. I have believed in keeping golf and family time separate, but the shutdown has forced me to break the rule. Rarely used previously, the hitting area (30 yards x 10 yards) in the garden has allowed me to work on the technical aspects of my game and helped stay in touch. It is tough but while hitting balls with the irons and driver, I use the power of imagination and visualise match-like situations to keep out monotony.
With gyms shut, the kettlebell weights, medicine balls and therabands at home take care of fitness along with some running. Not the ideal preparation before the season restarts but it is about the making the best use of what’s available. It isn’t just the fitness aides that are being put to good use, the guitar I bought many years ago has been dusted and almost every day I perch myself on a stool and take tutorials on YouTube whenever the feeling of doing little becomes hard to handle.
As told to Robin Bose