After winning IWL, Priya P.V. joins Kerala’s fight against coronavirus

Priya P.V. guided Gokulam Kerala to the Indian Women’s League title in February. Two months later, she is helping the people of Kerala fight COVID-19.

Priya PV

Priya PV (R), who coached Gokulam Kerala to the IWL title this year, and Indian footballer CK Vineeth have been volunteering at a government helpline centre in Kannur.   -  Twitter @IndianFootball

On February 14, coach Priya P.V. brought home the Indian Women’s League (IWL) trophy as Gokulam Kerala defeated KRYPHSA 3-2 in the final. Priya has now come forward for a bigger cause as she extends her help in Kerala’s fight against COVID-19.

Working at the government helpline centre in Kannur, Priya has been attending people’s calls for about three weeks, from 10 am until 5 pm every day. She helps fulfill their demands for essential commodities by forwarding their requests to the required suppliers.

RELATED| Gokulam Kerala wins Indian Women's League 2020

“We are helping people get items such as groceries, medicines and surgical equipment. We have circulated about seven to eight helpline numbers for such demands,” she told Sportstar.

“Some people call, some text us, and some drop WhatsApp messages. Honestly, WhatsApp messages are easier for us because we can forward the messages directly to the necessary vendors,” she added.

 

The requested items are delivered to the people free of cost by delivery boys, who have signed up as part of a volunteer force (Sannadha Sena) - an initiative started by the Kerala government to mobilise the youth.

The request for commodities, Priya explains, is fulfilled within a day. “We try to provide supplies as soon as possible, especially if there is an urgency for medicines. Otherwise, if the requests are placed in the morning, we try to get the supplies delivered by evening. If someone requests in the evening, then it usually takes longer,” she said.

Social work 'a rare opportunity' for sportspersons

Priya, who is employed under the sports division of the state government, was approached by the district panchayat and the sports council for this role.

“They asked us if I would be willing to work and I agreed as they needed some seniors at the desk. The volunteers and delivery boys are pretty young thus I was asked if I would be ready to work, to which I had no problem,” she said.

 

“As sportspersons, we rarely get such chances. We are often busy with tournaments or camps. So when we get such opportunities, I think we should definitely go for it. Very rarely can we do social work like this.”

She is joined by several other coaches and sportspersons, including C.K. Vineeth, who too has been reporting daily to work. “He is very sincere. I really appreciate youngsters like him coming forward,” added Priya, who holds an AFC A licence.

RELATED | C.K. Vineeth joins COVID-19 helpline centre in Kerala

Team effort helping Kerala flatten the curve

Kerala, which reported India’s first case of coronavirus on January 30, has now begun flattening the curve, according to state officials. On April 12, the state’s finance minister Thomas Isaac explained in a Tweet how the spread of the virus has slowed in Kerala, even as cases continue to increase in the country.

 

Talking about the controlled situation in Kerala, Priya said: “The Kerala government and its healthcare system, the police, and the media have all worked together (to flatten the curve).”

She continued: “The media is doing excellent work in Kerala. People are staying indoors and keeping an eye on the news always, which is why Kerala residents are knowledgeable about the danger of COVID-19. They are not unnecessarily leaving their houses.

“People in Kannur are very calm and cool. They are staying indoors because they know that one phone call will help them get the essentials from us. The awareness (about coronavirus) is high here, which is very useful.”

Virtual communication keeping team in touch

Due to the lockdown, Priya’s Gokulam Kerala players are forced to train indoors but they have been in touch with her, sharing timely updates of their fitness routine.

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“We are all in touch through our WhatsApp group. I urge them to maintain their fitness - mental and physical, watch re-runs of matches to analyse,” she said. “The lockdown will definitely affect the players so the point, both mentally and physically, thus it is important to figure out how to overcome this. Maintaining a proper diet is also very essential (during off-season).”

As for Priya? She is keeping herself busy by watching the news to know the latest updates on the pandemic, while also squeezing in a few Malayalam movies in her free time.

With the nationwide lockdown now extended to May 3, she plans to help the people until normalcy returns in Kannur.

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