Sports Experts discuss the revival of contact sports amidst challenging times

The way forward for Contact Sports is to stay true to the training and practice positivity.


About four months ago we heard of a mysterious virus that had started spreading across the world and today, we all have come to a standstill. In the current scenario when the only vaccine against COVID-19 is 'social distancing' the road to resumption of sports seems hazy.

While digital platforms have turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the health and fitness industries, for contact sports, the scenario is more challenging. How are you going to train virtually when you need a partner for training? How far is the road ahead for resumption of contact sports? To seek answers to these difficult questions Sports Flashes hosted a webinar on ‘Future of Contact Sports'.

The webinar brought together experienced athletes and coaches from the sports fraternity. The panelists included: Padma Shri Awardee and Olympic Wrestler Bajrang Punia, Jay Kowli - Secretary General, Boxing Federation of India,  Munesh Kumar - Senior Sports Physiotherapist, and Chhote Lal - Coach of 6 Time World Champion & Padma Vibhushan, Mary Kom. The session was moderated by Sports Journalist Rahul Pandey.

The coaching and training trends have gone upside down causing the trainers to rethink the old ways and evolve. Coach Chhote Lal shared his experience of virtually training World Champion Boxer Mary Kom. He said "Boxing Federation of India has guided us to train the athletes and monitor them online everyday. The effort is to maintain the physical and mental fitness of the sportsperson. However, given the pandemic situation, It’s now every player's own decision. My trainee Mary Kom has refused for camp training as she wishes to spend some time with her children. Although I regularly train her online. As and when things normalise, we shall resume our training camp in Patiala"

While #Coachfromhome might be an option the same hashtag seems impossible for physiotherapy. Speaking about his experience Munesh Kumar said, "Physiotherapy cannot be done online. Video consultation does not always work for contact sports. These are very exhausting and the players need proper exercises and relaxing. Proper training schedules have to be prepared with trainers."

Speaking about his self-training schedule Bajrang Punia shared his training schedule and said "The training has stopped for the world and it’s saddening for every player across the globe. But we have to deal with the situation without compromising on fitness. I personally had set up a small gym at my home. Earlier Desi pehalwans did not have any facilities, yet they used to manage their training. So we can look back to those ways of trainings and learn the techniques."

Commenting on the administration's take on resumption of camp training and contact sports Kowli said "We have taken a decision in a meeting with the sports minister to resume training in a controlled manner and in adherence to some strict SOPs. We have to take care of the safety of our teams first. We have managed to train 483 boxers in online training. At this moment, the future of contact sports is worrisome but we need to put the right plans in place for their re-opening."

Shedding a positive light on the future of sports Punia advised "We must look at it in a positive manner. We have now got time to rethink our weaknesses and flaws that we must work upon. It has prepared us for the worst situations now. I take it positively that we have got one more year to work upon our strengths. It is important that we stay true to our training and be patient."

The panelists assured that we are heading towards normalcy and contact sports will resume once it is safe for the players to get on the field.

(With inputs from Vandana Bansal)

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sports contact sports boxing wrestling COVID-19

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