D Ram Raj
The COVID-19 aka coronavirus pandemic has turned the entire world, including the world of sports, topsy-turvy creating an eerie calmness amongst the din wherein perhaps for the first time ever the people of the whole world have been pushed into a forced or self quarantine to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
The world of sports has been reeling with a unique situation of event after event in the entire globe being cancelled or postponed. The latest to take the hit was the Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed to 2021. Originally, the Tokyo Olympics were scheduled to be held in June-August 2020.
The air of uncertainty has been the most disquieting fact as people across the globe have begun to realize the enormity of an apocalyptic scenario with leaders cutting across the world calling this worse than a World War like situation.
The epidemic raised its ugly head in China in late 2019 and by March 2020 had hit the world of sports very hard. The All England Badminton Championship was the last major event to be successfully completed before COVID-19 resulted in shutting down the world of sports forcing sportspersons and athletes to stay put in their homes.
While many sportspersons are taking this as an opportunity for quality family time due to the unexpected break, many are worried as it can throw their entire careers into chaos. There is absolutely no clarity on how the world sporting events would be able to rejuvenate from the catastrophic close down of an indefinite period.
Preparations made and being made in anticipation of participating in various sporting event at all levels – global, national and local – have gone haywire. While sportspersons may be able to follow some personal physical training regimens at home, their specific sports coaching schedules have taken a major hit.
In a country that is 73 years old, most people (except those born in the pre-Independence era and pre-World War II era) are stumped by the enormity of the crisis, which seems to be shaking the very foundation of human existence despite practicing healthy lifestyles based on physical sporting activities.
Trinity Mirror spoke to a few sportspersons past and present to gauge their mood and reaction to this massive catastrophe in the world of sports and the whole world. While disruptions in sporting events caused by spectator outrage have occurred in sports arenas across the world, such massive cancellation of sporting activities is perhaps the first of its kind.
Former India women’s cricket team captain and coach Sudha Shah said she has never come across such a situation in her sporting life and career. Shantha Rangaswamy, another former women’s cricket team captain and selector, remarked that she could only recall the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 when whole of India ground to a halt.
But that break was for a short duration as most of the country, except New Delhi, soon limped back to normalcy on recovering from the shock of the assassination of the Prime Minister by two of her own security guards.
Director and Head Coach of Bengaluru’s Karnataka Institute of Cricket (KIOC), one of the finest and leading cricket academies of India wherein many of the present and past cricketers of India and the state have been groomed (both men and women), said this was one of the most unprecedented situations that he has come across in his entire life and career.
With such an extraordinary situation facing the world and world of sports, one hopes the efforts of governments and sports administrators across the world will restore normalcy as soon as possible.