Coping with Corona: English lessons from sister for Naveen Kumar

Naveen Kumar raids against Tamil Thalaivas during PKL 7. PKL

The novel coronavirus has brought life to a standstill across the world. The sporting world too, with tournaments cancelled, seasons suspended and athletes bound by the same rules of isolation as the rest of us. ESPN talks to Indian athletes, cooped up in homes or training camps, on their changed routines, with calendars scrambled, competitions on hold and plenty of time on hand.

Naveen Kumar

Kabaddi player

How has your training been affected, if it has?

Taking care of fitness is very important. I do basic exercises even at home, like stretches and cardio, to maintain my fitness.

What do you miss the most about training with teammates?

When we practice together, we learn more and are motivated to practice for longer hours. We improve each other's skills and technique, which helps. But in this situation, it's better we all practice alone, to make sure that we follow all the measures and stay safe indoors.

If you could watch a match from the past on video while you are at home, which one would it be?

There are two matches from the Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 that I remember quite often. One was our [Dabang Delhi KC] second match in the league against Tamil Thalaivas - we won the match in the very last minute. The other match was against Jaipur Pink Panthers in Bengaluru, which was again a last-minute win. These kinds of neck-to-neck matches make the sport so interesting, and that's what makes it special. Plus, in both matches, I raided and scored pretty well.

Have you taken up any new hobbies?

Kabaddi is everything for me, so I'm mainly concentrating on my fitness. Other than that, my younger sister is teaching me English, which is helping me a lot. It's fun to learn a new language, and it will be useful for me. As part of fitness, I do some dance routines at home as well.

What films/shows are you watching online?

I recently watched Baaghi 3 - it's a nice movie.

How are you being disciplined about your diet - are the number of cheat days increasing?

I'm maintaining my usual diet, I have lauki (bottle gourd) twice a week. Other than that, I'm relishing the food prepared by my mother.

Name one advantage of being in a situation like this?

In this situation, the only advantage is to spend time with family. I have been in and out because of Kabaddi commitments, so this is a great time to catch up with family and make some memories.

When was the last time you were in a similar situation?

I had a fracture few years ago, when I had to sit at home. I was not mobile at that time, but it is somewhat a similar feeling. An injury is tough, but this is far more serious when you look at it from a national or global perspective.

Have you picked up a new skill, cooking, learning an instrument etc?

I help my mother with cooking at times. I can now cook dal (lentils) and paneer (cottage cheese) well.

In terms of kabaddi, what's your biggest fear in a situation like this?

There is no fear for the sport. The government has taken measures, and if everyone follows it, this crisis will hopefully be averted soon. Just stay safe and indoors - if the entire nation follows this, we will fight through these difficult times and emerge victorious.