EM Exclusive, Nagaland Sports
Sport in limbo: How sportspersons, coaches in Nagaland are fighting inactivity
Menuse-O Max Khieya
Kohima, Aug. 29 (EMN): The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has adversely affected the sports sector across the globe, sending most sporting activities into a coma even as major global events struggle to revive.
In Nagaland too, all kinds of sporting activities that are organised annually have come to a standstill due to the unprecedented pandemic.
Even schools and colleges have missed their annual sports events. Barring a miracle, it is likely that major sporting events in the state are also going to be cancelled and suspended this year.
Eastern Mirror had earlier reported that many planned events, including ‘catch them young tournaments’ (district-level as well as inter-district/state level), have been put on hold.
However, the Dr. T Ao trophy inter-district football tournament has been scheduled to be held in the month of October in Kohima, if the situation permits.
Coaches and players
On National Sports Day, Eastern Mirror reached out to some sportspersons and coaches to learn how they have been coping with the situation.
Mughato Aye, a senior state coach of football for boys at the State Sports Academy in Dimapur, acknowledged that all activities related to sports have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He stated that even the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is not able to fully function to start off the training programmes for India’s Olympic probables. Though the ministry has already initiated training sessions for some probables, majority of the players are yet to undergo trainings to prepare themselves ahead of the next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Aye expressed concern that the State Sports Academy has been closed for five months, since the nationwide lockdown.
Players were sent home when the lockdown was enforced in March. The sports institutions in Dimapur impart training on athletics, sepaktakraw, boxing and football for boys while the sports academy at IG Stadium in Kohima provides training on taekwondo, archery, wrestling and football for girls.
Despite the novel coronavirus playing spoilsport, Aye informed that the coaches and those in charge have been giving the players weekly and monthly assignments, and lesson plans which they perform at their own places to keep themselves fit.
The coach apprised that from time to time, they conduct video sessions to keep track of the players and ensure their fitness. “We let them carry on their activities so that they are able to stay fit,” he said.
Sports Academy boxing coach Tsungchetrenla Tzudir from Dimapur informed that two boxing players could not go back to their home in Mon district since the lockdown came in force.
As such, she informed that she had taken the two players to her home at Chümoukedima and have been training both of them, in the morning and evening. It may be mentioned that the sports institutions have been temporarily converted into quarantine centres.
Meanwhile, Tzudir shared that she is currently giving different training programmes to the experienced players and the young players accordingly. Her players comprise of three categories — senior, junior and sub-junior.
Tzudir, who also represented India as Indian women boxing team coach for five times, shared that she instructs her players, aged between 11 and 13, to do general exercises and normal activities like running or push-up; while for those who have experience in taking part in competitions, she usually asks them to do perform “technical works”.
“I am keeping tap of their training through WhatsApp and phone calls,” she said.
Keeping in mind the challenging time everyone is going through, the coach said that she also motivates her players “psychologically” and reminds them that “it is very important to keep oneself fit at this time”.
As directed by the director of Youth Resources and Sports, she said that they are required to do ‘home workout and general exercises without using any equipment’. As such, she made two videos — one on yoga and the other on a home workout.
“These are the things even the department is doing to promote sports during the lockdown, not only to motivate the sportspersons but also the general people,” Tzudir said.
Players outside of the state academies are also finding all possible means to cope with the situation to keep themselves fit.
Nchumbemo Mozhui, a footballer who completed his contract on December last year after playing in Eleven Star FC in Assam and came back to his native village in Wokha, shared that he is keeping himself engaged by doing ‘home workout’.
He added that he also plays football at the village ground with the locals to keep himself fit.
Mozhui said that he is looking forward to play in some clubs at Guwahati if the situation improves. “My contract has been put on hold by my agent because of Covid-19; so I can’t go out,” he said.
Khrielie Zashumo, a state table tennis player from Kohima, informed that the State Indoor Stadium has been closed owing to the lockdown.
The Covid-19 has affected the game of table tennis, which is becoming popular in the state, Zashumo said.
According to him, the pandemic has struck at a time when many upcoming table tennis players were regularly coming to the stadium for practice.
However, the senior player has reminded those who have their private facilities to utilise their time in practice.
As for Zashumo, he keeps himself engaged in household activities like fetching water and splitting firewood to maintain his physical fitness since he feels the time is not right to go out for jogging, being in the city.
Ekumyala Changkiri, a shuttler who represented India at the Bangladesh International Open 2018, shared that Covid-19 has ‘awfully affected’ badminton lovers.
“As badminton is played on court, it (Covid-19) has really affected us because the stadiums are not open,” she said.
Since the sporting facilities, including gyms, are all closed due to the pandemic, running itself would not keep them fit enough to compete in big tournaments, she said.
However, even jogging or running off court is “unsafe for us” during the Covid-19 crisis, Changkiri added that most of the colonies in Kohima restrict their members from going out, keeping in mind the increasing cases of Covid-19 in the capital city.
Changkiri said that for the time being, she is doing her ‘home workout to maintain her health somehow’.