Dealing with self-isolation: What are Indian sport stars up to?

From Sania Mirza to PR Sreejesh, we take a look at how India’s Olympic athletes are dealing with self-isolation following the coronavirus outbreak.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Athletes at the highest level are often subjected to a busy lifestyle. 

Be it competing in events around the world, or be it sweating out in the training sessions, there’s barely a time one would find a top athlete enjoying some ‘me’ time. 

But the recent restrictions following the novel coronavirus pandemic has seen most of the athletes across the globe pushing themselves into self-isolation. So, how does a professional athlete who’s hardly used to an easy life cope up with such a drastic change? 

The Olympic Channel takes a look:

The extra cautious Sania Mirza

For someone who's always on the tour throughout the year, the recent restrictions have come as a welcome change for Saina Mirza. The Hyderabadi is happy that she gets to spend more time with her year and half old son Izhaan.

But with a toddler around, the Indian tennis ace says that self-isolation is proving to be a tough act. "Thankfully both I and my father don't have any symptoms and we're feeling healthy,” she told ESPN India.

“We made sure we didn't step out of our homes both in San Diego and here in Hyderabad. Izhaan is just excited to have me back and with him around, self-isolation doesn't look like an easy option."

PR Sreejesh’s love for books

He’s often the one to break the ice in the team. With jokes and funny anecdotes up his sleeves, PR Sreejesh is Indian hockey team’s prankster. 

But away from all the fun, the Kerala man seems to have picked up a new habit this time -- reading.

“Since we have a lot of time these days and nowhere to go, many of us on the team have started playing volleyball at the SAI centre that we're at. I've also picked up reading as a new habit now,” he told ESPN India a few days back. 

“I was so hooked to The Da Vinci Code that I jumped out of bed at 2 AM and could only go back to sleep after I'd finished the final few chapters. I also loved Ikigai. Now I'm reading Good morning Mandela, it's a book that our former goalkeeper coach Dave Staniforth recommended to me when he was with the team four years ago.”

Sai Praneeth and the hunger to stay fit

With the BWF suspending the Tour till the end of the month, the shuttlers are going through a testing time of their own. 

While many are yet to assure themselves of a place at the Tokyo Olympics, the handful who are certain of making the cut, are struggling to keep themselves fit. And one among them is India’s B Sai Praneeth.

Ever since returning from the All England Open Badminton Championships, the shutdown in Hyderabad has caught him off-guard. 

"The two-week break will affect our fitness. The gym in my apartment has also been shut so I don’t have any way to work on my fitness. I take long walks and jog inside the campus,” said Sai Praneeth sharing his latest fitness routine.

Ankita Raina searching for the silver lining

After an eventful Fed Cup outing in Dubai, India’s top-ranked singles tennis player Ankita Rania is back home. And with no tennis action in the foreseeable future, she’s expected to be in Pune for a while.

But the Indian tennis champ isn’t complaining. “I didn’t have a pre-season for the last two years, so for me, it’s good in a way that I’m getting this break,” she told the Hindustan Times recently. 

And with most of the courts shut, Ankita Raina is hoping to spend the time trying out some of her hobbies. “There are a few things that I would like to try my hand at now that I have the free time sitting at home, like cooking, painting and may learn some form of dance. Who knows, that might also help me in my game!” she said.

Savita Punia staying cautious 

While many athletes would have been forced to re-thinking and tinker around with their plans, the Indian hockey women’s team seems to be an exception. 

Speaking to the Olympic Channel, Indian hockey goalkeeper Savita Punia said that though their training was barely disturbed over the past days, the team is being cautious about their hygiene and surroundings. 

“I don’t think much has changed for us. The SAI centre is shut for outsiders, so that’s a good thing. Then we have been taking precautionary measures ourselves as well. The gym equipment is sanitised before and after use. And we are no longer allowed to step outside the SAI campus,” she said.

During such testing times, one can only hope that the normalcy returns at the earliest and the much-celebrated athletes are back on the field doing what they do the best.