Veteran Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami talks about managing menstruation as an active athlete and calls for more research on how it impacts sportspersons in the first episode of Wednesdays with WV.

WV Raman: I would like to know more about the sportsperson during their monthly cycles when they are involved in a competition. What goes on then physically, physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally?

Jhulan Goswami: I think that that is the most challenging part as a female athlete and think all the athletes have faced all the same kind of stuff and if it is during computation time, it was a huge challenge to compensate for that area and concentrate on your job. During that time, you’re not able to concentrate more, not able to deliver more, but other people don’t know. People start criticizing but no one knows the backstory. This is challenging for every female athlete in this world, and that’s why we say that female athletes are very special. Going through a lot of pain in her body and doing this kind of physical activity is challenging. During match days it’s a huge task. I think it takes a lot of courage to come out of that situation and play and be there for six hours on the cricket field. Particularly, I’m talking about cricket. I think you have to give a lot of credit to all those girls going through it because you want to be in the room, in the bed, and get proper rest. But because of what we have chosen, we can’t be in the room. We can’t be in bed. You have to go and play an important match. It can’t be an excuse. So, I think, this is a big challenge for girls, but I’m sure now everyone is taking care of all this stuff. Physios and doctors play a big role in this. This is normal. We can’t complain about that. We accept and we prepare that way. We try to give no more effort. We can’t give excuses for that.

WV Raman: It’s not about excuses, it is more about trying to help the sportspersons, especially during that phase. I had in fact recommended during my tenure that the research be undertaken as to what are the things that these girls go through and what is it that system can do to help them mitigate the challenges that they face during that period. It’s a worthwhile project, don’t you think?

Jhulan Goswami: Absolutely sir, this is required. I’m glad that you have asked this question and with this research point too. I’m happy that people have started thinking that way. When I was young, I could not share all this stuff with my coaches and had to quietly fight everything. This is something people should accept and should research properly and see how we can improve. A lot of science is there, so if you can come out and make sure that, during that time, they can get a few adjustments in things. Match timings, training timings – these are things that can be looked at because everyone wants to be fresh during competition time.