Sajan Prakash landed in Phuket in the second week of February to resume training with his Spanish coach Miguel Lopez at the FINA aqautic centre. But the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic saw a lockdown being enforced in Phuket and Sajan along with 17 other trainees were stranded at their training base.
The 25-year-old Sajan was slowly coming back to his peak fitness after recovering from a neck injury and was looking forward to this training stint before the Olympic qualifiers.
"We were caught unawares. The disease was spreading rapidly and the decision was taken all of a sudden. The airport was closed and we couldn't do anything but stay at the centre. I am sharing a room with my fellow trainee and nothing to worry about. But the lockdown is set to continue till the end of this month and in all probablity will be extended. The pool is closed and there is no training but we do exercises and work out in the gym daily to keep ourselves fit,'' said Sajan Prakash.
"The Kerala Sports Minister called me on Monday. It was a nice gesture on his part. He told me not to worry and wished me all success," he added.
Sajan Prakash who achieved the Olympic B standard qualification norm for Olympics, was aiming to achieve the A standard mark in the qualifying meets. The ace swimmer had attempted this in the senior nationals in Bhopal but wasn't successful.
The neck injury which occurred at the wrong time also sidelined him for three months. "I don't know why I pick up these injuries at the wrong time. I had injured my shoulder before the Rio Olympics and my performance suffered. It is no different this time and I am really frustrated," he said.
Sajan is a bit disappointed that the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed to next year. "Personally it is a bit disappointing for me. You spend four years training hard to compete in Olympics and it is frustrating to see it get postponed. Now you have to start the whole process of qualification again. At the back of the mind are the injuries and one year is a pretty long time in the career of a sportsman,'' he said.
Once the lockdown is over, Sajan said he will chart out his future training programme after consulting his personal coach S. Pradeep Kumar and Miguel Lopez. But right now it is an agonising wait for the lockdown to be over.
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