THE government’s movement control order (MCO) to stem the tide of Covid-19 infections may have forced Malaysians to stay at home but it has not deterred local athletes from coming up with ingenious ways to keep fit.
High jumper Nauraj Singh Randhawa, who has a great chance of making it to next year’s Tokyo Olympics, is determined to continue with the effort and hard work he has been putting in all these months.
He is not about to let the MCO crush his hopes.
“I have been training at home every second day but there is not much I can do given the limitation in facilities and access.
“The best I can do is maintain my strength and fitness level for now, ” said Nauraj.
“My goal is not to lose momentum in training, especially with the Olympics postponed to next year. I do not want to lose focus.”
The MCO period, Nauraj believed, was a good time for everyone to develop patience and tolerance.
“We can complete the stuff we had no time for because of busy schedules.
“Above all, we can use the time to improve family bonds and reflect on our past actions and future, ” he said.
Former Malaysia hockey goalkeeper S. Kumar does simple exercises every day to keep fit and healthy.
“I do cardio training at home. One can easily accomplish this with or without equipment because as an athlete, it is our responsibility to stay fit and to maintain a healthy diet.
“Our coaches gave us individual programmes to maintain our physical fitness. Training at home requires a lot of discipline, ” said Kumar, who recently retired from the national team.
He is currently playing for Tenaga Nasional Bhd in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
Kumar’s teammate, national junior athlete Shello Silverius, is not letting the MCO stop him from making the Junior World Cup squad under coach Wallace Tan.
“Our coach ordered us to do our own workouts at home, which includes exercises such as planks, push-ups and jumping jacks.
“We are required to complete our routines twice a day.
“I am diligently following this strict fitness routine as it is for my own benefit, ” said Shello.
Up-and-coming badminton potential Rhenu Chandra usually trains at the Asia Badminton Academy.
The 15-year-old has not been able to spend time on the badminton court or have a decent sparring session, yet she is able to hone her ability at home and boost her physical prowess.
“It definitely feels less exciting because it is more fun to play on the court where you can move the shuttle around and work on the tactical side of the game, ” she said.
“But training against a wall every day helps me keep my hand muscles working.”
Rhenu, who is reigning Gombak Under-15 badminton champion for singles and doubles with her partner, said rope skipping, push-ups and planking were some of the moves in her exercise repertoire which she rotates daily.
“It has been some time since I last trained with my coach and during our last session, he told me to do my own physical exercises so this was what I came up with, ” said the Selangor player.
Rhenu, who studies at SMK Tun Perak, is also on track for her second season in Purple League Junior this August under the Rawang Badminton Club banner.
“I don’t think being stuck at home will affect me negatively because I am getting enough physical training.
“And even though I cannot practise my skills at home, I can catch up easily. But if this continues for another month, I think it may affect my performance.
“In the meantime, it is nice to have home-cooked meals prepared by my mother every day and get feedback from her on my training, ” she said.
Similarly, 2017 Para Games national wheelchair basketball captain Ahmad Nazri Hamzah, who is preparing for the Asean Para Games in October, has also adapted to the changes brought about by the MCO.
From regular scheduled training twice a day at the Paralympic Excellence Centre in Kampung Pandan, he and his teammates have moved to staying fit as best they can in a rented house.
The team, who had access to specialised training equipment and wheelchairs, are now doing what they can to keep themselves in good shape.
“Over in Kampung Pandan, we use proper wheelchairs while working out and have access to space where we can build endurance and stamina, ” Ahmad Nazri explained.
“In the limited space that the six of us are in, we focus mostly on light training twice a day with dumb-bells and stick to a healthy diet.
He believed the situation would affect the team’s fitness level somewhat but for the time being, morale was high and they could only adapt and improvise.
“Stamina is something that we are not able to work on right now because of the MCO but we continue to motivate each other.
“The only real issue is we have to take turns to use the dumb-bells.
“The rest of the team members have gone back to their homes
and are following the instructions given by our coach, ” he said,
adding that everyone shared ideas via a WhatsApp group and updated their coach on progress during this period.
For rising hockey star Krishanraj Singh Gill, who plays for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the MHL, training and keeping fit at home was challenging but also fun.“I work out and run on the treadmill at home as well as play hockey indoors with my siblings, so there is a fun element in my fitness regime.
“I have also been following some of the local and international players’ challenges on social media to keep me focused, ” said Krishanraj, whose club side won the double in the MHL which concluded in February.
Did you find this article insightful?
50% readers found this article insightful