Lockdown diaries: Being in lockdown a 'mixed feeling' - Maisnam Meiraba Luwang

With his 12th standard board exams postponed due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, the Manipuri lad is feeling pressurised and relaxed at the same time.

Maisnam Meiraba Luwang (in picture) is touted as the next big thing in Indian badminton   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Several athletes have admitted that they find it challenging to stay fit during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. The seniors have the experience to tackle the difficulties but it's the juniors like badminton star Maisnam Meiraba Luwang who struggle the most, both physically and mentally, with the ongoing scenario.

Meiraba is stuck in Bangalore right now, while his 12th-grade board exams have also been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Manipur lad is a prodigy of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) and currently occupies the No. 2 spot in the BWF junior boys singles rankings. 

"I'm in the 12th grade, pursuing arts. I was supposed to have my board exams but everything is on hold now. And hence I'm both relaxed and pressurised. It's a mixed feeling," he told Sportstar.

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"It's okay to be in Bangalore. I go home only after tournaments, so I'm used to it. But I'm not able to train like usual. I'm doing the little things I can do. I stay close to the academy. I've been doing some light training, stuff that doesn't need too much space. I do full-body circuits and cardio. There have been changes in my routine now," the youngster added.

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Maisnam Meiraba Luwang reads a book while at home during lockdown   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The 17-year-old mentioned a few activities which keep him going at present amid the tough period. He also revealed some of the tips he received from a psychologist whom he calls Didi.

"Didi gives me tips on how to cope with the situation mentally. I've been told to do meditation and certain other workouts. I watch movies, badminton matches and play games on my phone. I like to play COD. I'm reading books too, 'You can win' by Shiv Khera is my current read. I would also love to read books on Yoga," he said.

Coming from the Northeast, where Badminton is not the first choice of sport, Meiraba always had his eyes on the game which his father - Maisnam Romesh Luwang - pursued. Romesh has competed with the current chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on the tour.

"I took up badminton mainly because of my father, who is a coach himself. So I got influenced by him. I started playing tournaments when I was around seven years old. Two years from then, I started taking the sport seriously."

Meiraba now trains under watchful eyes of elite coaches like Vimal Kumar, D.K. Sen and Sagar Chopda at PPBA.

"In 2013, I joined the academy in Bangalore. My father had sent an email to the academy since there was a camp. He applied and I joined. Years later, now we have two sessions, rarely three, a day. Every session is around two to four hours," added the 2020 Nepal junior international series champion.

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Maisnam Meiraba Luwang chilling in his home balcony   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

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The teenage shuttler is touted as the next big thing in Indian badminton. It's during times like these a player gets into a dilemma of choosing between sticking with the junior circuit or making the move to the senior level. However, Meiraba is not overwhelmed by the expectations and on the contrary, he is just absorbing the positivity.

"I think all this talk gives me the motivation to do more. I never look back at the past. I've done good things but now my focus is on the future.

"I'm not thinking about senior tournaments currently. I'm more focused on the World and Asia Junior Championships. In between, if I get time to participate in senior-level competitions, I might take part in them," he claimed.

Meiraba spoke of his admiration for Chinese legend Lin Dan and his friendship with fellow academy sensation Lakshya Sen and his brother Chirag.

"When I started playing, I always looked up to Lin Dan. He's my idol. That doesn't mean I don't look up to my Indian seniors. I respect and appreciate them a lot.

"The Sen family (Lakshya and Chirag) are close to me. We are all good friends. I go to their place once a week and we play FIFA all day," he signed off.

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