India’s top paddler Sharath Kamal said the pandemic has cast a gloom over the entire nation. As a sportsperson, it is his responsibility to spread positivity. “We have the capacity to motivate the youngsters as people are going through depression,” he spoke during a webinar 'Future of sports post COVID-19, organised by Sports Dunk . At such a difficult time, it is understandable that sport has taken a backseat. Resumption of sporting activities will take time, he said.
The multiple Commonwealth Games medallist was of the opinion that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) by Sports Authority of India (SAI) for table tennis wasn't practical. He said the idea of having different-coloured ball for each player and playing in alternate table are suggestions that are not rooted in practicality.
ALSO READ| Table Tennis: Indian youngster Snehit looking to build on momentum
“First your mind should be comfortable. I should be able focus on practice. I think it will take time for us to adapt,” he said. “Even the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) had asked whether the players can play with gloves. It will be difficult for a senior player like me. At this point it is only trial and error.”
L. Balaji, former India cricketer and Chennai Super Kings coach, said the pandemic might have hit the junior players in the U-16 and U-19 categories more, and hence they are in need of counseling. “Older players might have found ways to handle the situation, but juniors need to be counseled. Mental and psychological counseling is important,” he said.
ALSO READ| TTFI seeks players’ opinion for camp in June
R. Murali Krishna, former India basketball captain, said it is important to engage oneself in a constructive manner. “We have to divert our mind in such a situation,” he said.
Former Indian TT team video analyst and coach Rajath Kamal said his academy players have got bored with online coaching too. "We are finding it difficult to engage them as they have not trained for more than three months. For intermediate players, it will be tough,” he said.