The unprecedented health crisis, triggered by COVID-19, is perhaps a stark reminder that man should now learn to respect nature and not tinker with it, says Indian shuttler Sameer Verma. In India, the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 500 people and infected over 17,000, forcing the government to lockdown the country till May 3 to contain the deadly disease. The global situation is worse as 1,65,174 deaths have been recorded so far and more than 24 lakh positive cases reported.
"We have been running after materialistic things for so many years now and this lockdown period, whatever is happening globally at the moment, it has taught us a lot that we shouldn't tinker with nature," Sameer told PTI. "I hope after the crisis is over, it will change people's outlook towards things. We should not do anything that harms nature," added Sameer, who is spending so much time at home after about 14 years.
The shuttler also felt that the coronavirus-forced break is an opportunity to fix mental weakness and that a six-week training regime should be good enough to regain match-fitness after normalcy returns. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Badminton World Federation (BWF) to suspend all tournaments till the end of July and forced countries across the globe to shut borders. "It is an opportunity for everyone to analyse their own game and work on them. When we play, there are moments where we have been mentally weak, so during this time, you can rectify that and come out mentally stronger. I think it is a good time to work on mental strength," Sameer said.
Source: Badminton Association of India/Facebook
"This break brings everyone at same level. If someone was playing well then his rhythm will be broken and someone who was not in form, it gives a chance to regain that." The Tokyo Olympics also got pushed to 2021 due to the rapidly-spreading pandemic with the BWF freezing world ranking by backdating it to March 17, 2020 until the international tournaments start again. "When things become normal, I don't think people will straight away run after tournaments. It is same situation for everybody right now, so at least players will train for at least six weeks before turning up for tournament," Sameer said. The 25-year-old from Madhya Pradesh, who won three tournaments in 2018, was close to breaking into coveted top 10 bracket last year but a shoulder injury followed by a dip in form dented his chances.
"Last year I had shoulder injury after June-July but I couldn't perform much in the second half. Fortunately, I'm completely fit now, so was looking forward to this year. I played three events this year before everything was suspended," said Sameer, who slumped from world number 11 to 31. Asked how is he maintaining his fitness, he said: "We are doing some basic training like strengthen, agility, push ups, wall practice, standing shadows to maintain our basic fitness."
Athletes across the globe have been stressing on the need to maintain mental health during his lockdown period and Sameer said working out physically regularly will keep all mental issues at bay. "If you are training or doing exercises or being in touch with the sport you love even in a small way then I don't think you will get affected mentally," he said.
The 2018 World Tour Finals semifinalist was also not too worried about the financial implications of the pandemic. "Everyone will be affected, people will suffer loses but then life is important and once things get normal, you can recover from the losses," he signed off.