Dhanraj Pillay is lending a hand to India’s efforts in combating COVID-19 by staying at home and contributing money for the cause.
“India has given me so much due to hockey, every Indian should come forward to help in whatever way, those who are in a position to help. Each contribution, big or small does matter,” the Pune-born former India hockey captain said.
Dhanraj is in his Mumbai home, away from his mother due to the lockdown. He is happy to see others who managed to join their families before the restrictions came into force.
He has chipped in with ₹3 lakh for the Chief Minister’s relief fund, and ₹5 lakh for the PM-CARES fund.
“I have never seen my nation in a lockdown, during 34 years stay in Mumbai. We don’t know what is going to happen in the future, so supporting the efforts by the State and central level is in our hands. Every individual should come forward, [and I’m] happy to see athletes in other sports contribute. When we come out of this, I am ready to help colleagues at Air India working with me, who may, due to financial reasons, find it difficult to arrange monthly provisions for families.”
Dhanraj is secretary, AI Sports Control Board (Western Region).
Referring to flights undertaken by the national airline to bring back citizens stuck in different countries, he said: “Air India always [came] forward in emergencies, from the time the first flight brought back Indians from Wuhan. Evacuation flights are on.”
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Asked about adapting to restrictions on citizens, including India internationals actively competing, he pointed out: “Those preparing for the Olympic Games are stranded in Bengaluru when lockdown started. The India men’s and women’s hockey teams were being guided by their coaches, as per information told to me.”
The former AI hockey coach, known for athleticism and sharp skills in playing days, added: “For other sportspersons at home, doing the core exercises and developing muscles is useful. Skipping is one of the best workouts to maintain conditioning. For those staying in a house with its own terrace, there are lots of exercises which can done. Stick-work and ball-juggling can be done, new moves like a body-dodge can be picked now, to be implemented later when players are allowed to train outside.”
For the active sportspersons and coaches, the lockdown offered a positive side, too, pointed out Dhanraj. “When we are competing or training, we miss families due to tournaments and camps. This is the time for us to spend time with them. I feel happy looking at the many personal videos around, put out by sportspersons. Staying indoors is beneficial for all of us health-wise, so when the Health Minister, the CM or the PM tells us to follow orders, we can contribute by listening,” he signed off.
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