Ludhiana, October 4
It is more than six months that sports competitions are not held amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Though the administration has permitted local players to attend general fitness sessions and that too in small batches as per the standard operating procedures (SOP), the buzz at playgrounds is missing as sportspersons have been restricted from visiting their places of coaching/training due to the fear of getting infected.
As restrictions have been there for quite a long time now, the players are keeping their fingers crossed and eagerly waiting for the reopening of the stadia and coaching centres to resume their regular practice sessions.
Trainees, who are registered with the sports wings and enrolled under the residential schemes of the Punjab Sports Department and the local Sports Authority of India (SAI) Training Centre, were also asked to return to their native places when the lockdown was announced in March-end. They are still there, participating in sports activities online.
Like other players, judokas Priya and Aryan, both medal winners of national-level tournaments, are feeling the pinch of not attending routine practice sessions.
Aryan (21), a BA-III student at Panjab University, Chandigarh, carved a niche for himself by bagging a gold medal in the below 73-kg weight category in the Junior National Judo Championship held at Lucknow in 2019. He again hogged limelight last year as the gritty boy clinched a gold medal in the Khelo India Youth Games at Guwahati in Assam. Besides, he secured a bronze medal in the All India Inter-Universities Judo Championship in Amritsar.
Similarly, Priya, a BA-III student at Ramgarhia Girls College, Miller Ganj, proved her mettle by winning a gold medal in the below 70-kg weight group in the All India Inter-Varsity Judo Championship held in Chandigarh in 2018. Prior to this, she bagged a bronze medal in the Junior National Judo Competition at Shillong in 2016. Last year, she participated in the World Universities Games wherein Priya got the exposure of competing against the best talent in the world.
The duo follows a fitness schedule, which includes weightlifting (buckets full of water), rope skipping and sit-ups, while staying at home. They also visit the coaching centre at the multipurpose indoor hall opposite Guru Nanak Stadium in the evening daily for other exercises.
“Nothing matches the expert guidance of a trained coach. We hope the virus subsides and players resume training and be fit before the competitions commence,” they said.