I was training in Italy for the 2020 season from September 2018, but at the last moment the Olympic qualification tournaments were cancelled and the training centres were closed. So I was in a confused state of mind about my preparations.
My preparations for the last two qualification events were stopped. There was a lot of uncertainty at the beginning about training and competitions. But once the announcement of the postponement of the Olympics happened, a lot of confusion was cleared. And the qualifications will continue as it is and the tournaments for the same will happen. But still, many reports say that the 2021 Olympics are also doubtful.
I take this period as an important one to analyse my game and myself better. I had back pain a few months ago, so will take this period to recover well and focus more on fitness to become stronger to avoid future injuries. We have more time to prepare for the last two qualifications, and we will also have other competitions where I want to perform my best and better than last year. Each and every training session will be focused on small changes or corrections. The important thing in this period is mental health. I am working on that too, by doing yoga and meditation.
I have been at home (Chennai) for the past two-and-a-half months, training regularly at our terrace with a few dumbbells and target training with a dummy partner to maintain my fitness and fencing movements.
Competitions like the Asian Championships 2020 were cancelled; the junior and cadet World Championships were also cancelled, which might be a loss for athletes who are in the last year for the junior category or the under-23 category. As most of the 2020 season tournaments were already completed, we don’t know about the 2021 season, which (was scheduled to start) from September. So we don’t know if they will do all the competitions as usual or not.
It’s definitely challenging times for women in sports. Maintaining fitness and mental well-being at a peak level and suddenly this halt is not an easy situation to be in, especially for women sportspersons. At home, training can be done, but of course not many will have good resources and enough space to do it. Getting back to peak fitness will take time and women need to be strong mentally. So, this kind of break and cancellation of competitions are hard to accept. But when it comes to health, we need to overcome them and restart all over again.
The Fencing Association of India and the GoSports Foundation have constantly been in touch and helped me come back home in time. I am receiving online training from my coach Nicolla Zanotti. I hope everyone follows the safety guidelines and stays safe.
As told to K. Keerthivasan
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