Atheletes’ and coaches’ frustration to remain confined to their homes amid lockdown is palpable, and the Sports Authority of India’s various training modules in an online workshop kept them glued on the opening day, earning praise from none other than P. Gopichand.

Saturday marked the third day of a 21-day lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed close to 25,000 lives globally.

The sessions on the opening day was attended by athletes and para-athletes from all sport, including Olympic probables shooters Divyash Panwar, Apurvi Chandela, Abhishek Verma, Anish Bhanwala, boxers Lovlina Borgohain and Nikhat Zarin and swimmer Srihari Nataraj. Praising the initiative, national badminton coach Gopichand said: “In these testing times with the coronavirus, it is important to keep oneself physically and mentally active and find ways to use our time better. These online sessions will certainly help in achieving that.”

“Sport is not only about being competitive, challenges will be thrown up and it is how we face them with the best of our ability and keep moving forward,” the chief national coach said.

Informative sessions

The first session of the 24-series workshop started on Friday with physiotherapist Dr. Nikhil Latey speaking about how to train at home during the time of coronavirus; the session received over eight thousand views. This was followed by a session on nutritional requirements during coronavirus by Ryan Fernando which had more than 15,000 views from athletes, coaches and fitness enthusiasts.

Gopichand and former Indian hockey captain Viren Rasquinha were among many other participants. Speaking about the sessions, Olympian wrestler Pooja Dhanda said:“The sessions are very informative. It helped me think differently about training while at home and helped me focus on the key areas. I look forward to the other sessions as well.”

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Latey, on his part, said: “For a lot of us, the moment the lockdown is lifted, we can get back to doing what we do, but it’s not same for athletes. They are unsure if they will be at the same level as they used to be in the absence of regular training and competition.”

“This is why we need to come forward and help our athletes and make them utilise their time and these online sessions initiated by SAI are so useful. With the nationwide reach that SAI has, it will definitely have a positive impact.”