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.
Pawan Kumar Sehrawat
Raider, Bengaluru Bullls (PKL), Indian Railways
How has your training been affected?
We can't practice on the mat, since we shouldn't be stepping out of the house. But at home, I'm continuing my regular fitness training - I do my stretches, cardio, push-ups, along with other exercises on a daily basis. It's important for me to stay fit, so exercising is a must.
What do you miss the most about training with teammates/in your normal set-up?
I miss mat practices with my teammates. I raid the most with whichever team I play with - Bengaluru Bulls, Railways team or even the team in my village. I can't really raid when I'm playing by myself, so I miss playing with a team.
Have you been in touch with any of your PKL colleagues from Iran, South Korea?
Yes, I spoke to Fazel [Atrachali] recently - he too advised me to take care and stay home. He is doing fine. For now, he too is training at home, and not stepping out.
If you could watch a match from the past on video while you're stuck at home, which one would it be?
The match against Haryana Steelers in Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 is the most memorable one. I scored 39 raid points [the most points by any player in a single match], and that was a high point for me. I used a lot of techniques in that match, from jumps to dubki.
Have you taken up any new hobbies?
I've been spending most of my time catching up with my family members, talking about the things I have missed when I was travelling for kabaddi. I also play a lot of PUBG these days.
How are you being disciplined about your diet - are the number of cheat days increasing?
I've been enjoying some home cooked food made by my mother. It is the best thing, and the best diet I can follow. We don't step out, so no outside food - cheat days don't happen. It's important to eat healthy at this time. It will keep your immune system strong.
Name one advantage of being in a situation like this?
A lot of time with the family. There are so many things I miss when I'm away. While talking to them, I found out how there are so many new players from my village who are now playing kabaddi. Other than that, I've been catching up with several friends and family on telephone, and they keep talking about my matches, asking about my experiences -- so it's been really nice.
Have you picked up a new skill, cooking, learning an instrument etc?
I've been helping with some cooking at home to give my mother a break. I can make good aloo parathas now.
And any tips for fellow athletes to stay in shape, stay entertained and avoid getting depressed?
This is the time you can spend with you family, so please make most of it. Let's stay at home, look after ourselves and our loved ones, and let the pandemic pass.