Writing songs, painting and more: How athletes are coping with lockdown

The enforced break has brought out some unique skills in some while giving some much-needed rest to others to pursue other hobbies.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

It has been quite a while since the world saw any sporting action thanks to the preventive measures forced to be taken due to the coronavirus outbreak and for busy people like athletes, it is a unique break from their hectic schedules.

Sportspersons spend most of their time training, travelling and playing at events around the globe and the COVID-19 virus has given them some time off to do other fun stuff, though they are still doing their best to maintain fitness for when the action does begin again.

Let’s have a look at how various Indian athletes are keeping busy:

Somdev Devvarman and an apocalyptic song

The former Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, who represented Indian tennis for many years until his retirement in 2018, took to social media to show off a skill we did not know he possessed.

Somdev Devvarman posted a video on Twitter on Friday which showed him strumming a guitar and singing the lyrics to something he had composed on how he would deal with an apocalypse. Though the lockdown in India is not exactly the same situation, it works just as well.

Studying ft. Rani Rampal and Mandeep Singh

While many an Indian family encourages studies over sport, for Indian hockey women’s team captain Rani Rampal, the situation is the other way around.

Currently confined inside the Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus in Bengaluru, where the Indian hockey team had gathered for a physical conditioning camp, Rani Rampal is studying for her Masters’ degree in English Literature.

“I am just enjoying getting stuck into my study material for my MA and other than that I'm reading this book Good to Great by Jim Collins. I love listening to Punjabi music, of course, Gurdas Mann is a favourite,” she revealed to ESPN.

Indian hockey men’s goalkeeper PR Sreejesh is a voracious reader and has already finished reading two books while being in constant touch with his family and teammate Mandeep Singh is using the time to improve his English communication skills.

“Chris Ciriello (team’s analytical coach)’s wife takes English classes once in a week. We are doing assignments which include reading good English books. I have started reading one book on Olympics,” he revealed to Sportstar.

Meanwhile, the Indian hockey women’s vice-captain Savita Punia has come up with a new way to help the team bond better together.

“We don’t want to go out and don’t want to get bored either, so we are working on innovative recreation games based on team bonding. 

“We change roommates regularly to have better understanding between each and every player,” she told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Neeraj Chopra is all about javelin throw

While he may have to wait a bit more for his Olympics debut, 22-year-old Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will start as a favourite to bring home a maiden athletics medal for India and he is doing everything possible to prepare for it.

After returning from Turkey, he has been in self-isolation at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala and apart from working out thrice a day and resting appropriately, Neeraj Chopra reads the one book he possesses currently.

"If I find some time, I listen to music. If I feel like watching a movie, I do that. I don’t watch Netflix, I have a few movies saved on my hard disc, from which I watch," he told the Hindustan Times. 

"I don’t have too many books... I have a book on javelin throw, so I read about some techniques from it. Or I read a few things on my mobile phone.

"If the training shuts down completely, I might pick up some books and try to inculcate a reading habit in me."

Neeraj Chopra sealed his Olympic berth almost immediately after returning from injury 

Anjum Moudgil’s flourish with the brush

She became the first Indian shooter to secure a quota at the Tokyo Olympics as early as September 2018 and her prowess with a gun in hand is well-known but turns out Anjum Moudgil is also handy at something less noisy than shooting.

The 26-year-old is currently on break at home and has taken the time to unwind with a calm - and colourful - hobby. 

“I have been painting a lot. It keeps me occupied and helps me stay positive. This downtime has given me enough opportunities to pursue my passions, and I am happy to indulge,” she told Firstpost.

“I also have a pending reading list and I will take up books once I am done painting. So yeah, the break is going good as far as I am concerned.”

Dancing to the tunes ft. Manika Batra

Manika Batra’s gold medal show as a 22-year-old at the Commonwealth Games has turned her into a bonafide new-age Indian table tennis star and while her fluid movements behind the table is a revelation, she does something similar to relax.

“I am just getting more time to dance and it is also a good exercise,” she revealed to the Hindustan Times. “Of course, I also love music and Netflix. There is no particular song which I enjoy but I like listening to music on which I can dance.”

Manika Batra also reads inspirational stories to keep her mind free during the lockdown while keeping up to date with current affairs.