Olympics shift to 2021: Tokyo-bound Indian sportspersons juggle training and home amid lockdown – other sports

Mallika Bhagat

Hindustan Times

Air rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela is getting trained at the shooting range at her home, and learning photography online.
Air rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela is getting trained at the shooting range at her home, and learning photography online. (Photo: Sanjeev Verma/HT )

 
 
 
 

 

With the Olympics getting postponed to 2021, many sportspersons have been forced to continue training indoors, while overcoming the biggest hurdle of keeping not just their form but even their spirits intact. And Indian medal hopefuls have taken up the challenge with gusto and determination.

I’m also playing games online and training as well. We aren’t allowed to go out, but thankfully, there is so much to do that life isn’t boring at all.” — Neeraj Chopra, Javelin ace

“I knew the Olympics would get postponed because the situation in India had deteriorated at an unprecedented rate,’’ says javelin ace Neeraj Chopra, who is one of India’s biggest hope for an athletics medal. Chopra had to rush home, from Turkey, after India started banning flights from Europe and was made to stay in a quarantine facility for two weeks before he moved to National Institute of Sport (NIS) hostel in Patiala. The 22-year-old is spending his time focusing on basic training since practising javelin throws is out of bounds for now. Chopra adds, “We sometimes watch matches on TV or indulge in an occasional movie screening. I’m also playing games online and training as well. We aren’t allowed to go out, but thankfully, there is so much to do that life isn’t boring at all.”

 

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Core exercise #dragonflag

A post shared by Neeraj Chopra (@neeraj____chopra) on Apr 28, 2020 at 2:31am PDT

Unlike Chopra, freestyle wrestler Bajrang Punia is quarantining at his home in Sonepat and has taken to cooking and splitting chores with his family. “I’m building on other skill sets,” chuckles Punia, who hasn’t compromised his training schedule amid coronavirus lockdown. “Thankfully, I was lucky, I had a space in my apartment society, where I could set up a makeshift gym. Recently, I even arranged a small mat to practice my wrestling techniques. And I have a training partner and physio staying with me,’’ adds 26-year-old Punia, the Tokyo-bound athlete, who is also brushing up on his reading with Devdutt Pattanaik’s words.

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बाबु के सपने टूटे थे सब फिलिंग कर दी लॉक मने में घना सीरियसली लेरहासु जिंदगी लागे से जोक तने । @mddesirockstar

A post shared by Bajrang Punia 🇮🇳 (@bajrangpunia60) on Apr 22, 2020 at 12:41am PDT

Air Rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela is also spending her time in getting trained at the shooting range she has at home. Hopeful that the quadrennial event doesn’t get cancelled, the young gun says her family’s support is comforting, and allows her to keep her spirits high. “I’m mostly away from home because of my sport, so it’s nice to spend quality time with my family and dogs. My parents and I have divided household duties among ourselves, and I’m responsible for cleaning,” says 27-year-old Chandel, and cheerfully adds, “This takes up quite a bit of time and is also a good exercise on its own. I’m even learning photography online; that’s something I’ve always been interested in but never actually got the time to learn more. So, I’m utilising this time now, to get better at it.”

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