The Tokyo Olympics have been officially postponed . The Covid19 crisis has also exerted it’s pernicious influence on the biggest sporting event of the world, leading to postponement for the first time in history.
Amidst this chaos, athletes all over the world will be left pondering over their future plans. This includes Indian athletes too. India was expected to record it’s best ever medal tally at these Games. Now fans and athletes will have to wait one more year.
Athletes had been clamoring for postponement over the last few weeks, and obviously health is the biggest priority. Now that it’s finally happened, new plans will have to be drawn.
So how can athletes keep themselves motivated? How do you keep yourself motivated when your board exam gets postponed? Do you re-revise your chapters or do you take a break and relax? A similar dilemma faces athletes.
Some like the Indian women’s hockey team and the weightlifters have chosen to look at the positives, seeing it as one more year to prepare and iron out flaws. The Indian shooters will prepare by procuring indoor range simulators. Similarly, though non-Olympic, the cricketers will receive personalised training routines. The athletes and officials from other sports would do well to learn from these examples.
For veterans like Leander Paes and Sharath Kamal, for whom these would be the last ever Olympics, postponement will no doubt take further toll on the body. But they have been there and done it all before, so they should take it as yet another challenge. For first-time participants for example Lalremsiami, maintaining focus might be difficult, they could take guidance from seniors and coaches.
SAI, the sports ministry and various sports NGOs should also arrange sports psychologists for athletes, to detect any signs of demotivation and burnout. Mental health is as important as physical health during these tough times.
Sportspersons should also realise that their disappointment will be shared by their competitors all over the world. All the other athletes will also be facing the same challenges.
Ultimately they should realise that the Games have been postponed for the larger interest, and sport is nothing when compared to life. They can use this opportunity to get out of their bubbles and emerge as stronger, compassionate human beings. This is what the Olympic ideals strive for in reality.