Alloysius Edwards: Lockdown presents a major challenge for athletes

The worst hit by the postponement of the Olympics will be those on the verge of making it to the event, says the former India hockey goalkeeper.

Alloysius Edwards: "With each passing month, the motivation might not be the same [for athletes bidding to qualify for and participate in the Olympics.]" - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

It is never easy for any athlete to prepare for any rescheduled event as months of planning goes wasted, feels former India hockey goalkeeper Alloysius Edwards.

Alloysius represented India in 147 internationals between 1989 and 2000, including the 1994 World Cup. He was part of the Indian team at the Olympics in Atlanta, U.S., in 1996.

In a chat with Sportstar on Tuesday, the 51-year-old Alloysius said that the worst hit by the postponement of the Olympics will be those who are on the verge of making it to the Games. “The biggest challenge for any athlete is to be at home, particularly with this kind of a lockdown. When injured, you have that confidence of coming back, but here you are staring at many grim possibilities,” he reasons out.

“Nowadays, every country has a long-term, scientific training programme for Olympic berth contenders. There will be some who might just miss the bus, too, for the simple reason that there will be fresh guidelines and qualifying standards, especially in individual disciplines,” Alloysius said.

Uncertainty factor

“And, also, any young, fresh, performing talent cannot be ignored, especially in individual events, for the rescheduled Games,” he added.

“With each passing month, the motivation might not be the same as the time-frame has changed now,” he feels.

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“What is important to note is that any athlete prepares with the specific objective of peaking at the right time. [A] majority of the athletes should have primed themselves hoping the Games will be held this year as scheduled,” says Alloysius, a manager at the Punjab & Sind Bank in Hyderabad.

‘Major challenge’

Alloyisus should know what it means to miss Olympics. For after being in the one-month preparatory camp in Brisbane ahead the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and even presented with the official No. 12 blazer (which he exchanged with Jude Felix’s No. 1 on the latter’s request), he was sent home and Devesh Chauhan preferred instead.

“You are bound to face many hurdles once the original schedule goes awry. This is a major challenge both for the athletes and the coaches as the whole training programme has to be re-drawn,” he explained.

“Definitely, postponement is the only sensible option left for the Olympics organisers given the grim scenario across the world. After all, athletes’ health and safety are of paramount importance at any given time,” he concluded.

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