Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Covid-19 stops athletes in their tracks, robs them of morale

As sports reflect on a year of virtual era, athletes are looking back on their unsuccessful fitness training activities which a slumped morale.

Sport activities were bought to a standstill, last year March when there was an outbreak of coronavirus worldwide. 

Even though Botswana has been able to come with rules to return to play ensuring players safety. 

However, sport has suffered a low blow because the rules have become strict every time there is hope things are coming back to normal.

Two weeks ago, sport activities were halted by the government when in the country registered a spike in coronavirus cases. The development has since drained athletes’ morale in sport and training.

Commenting on the issue, local Taekwondo athlete and coach, Alfred Madome said ‘associations depend on Clubs to tap talents, nurture and bring up athletes that would represent the country.’ 

“The suspension of sporting activities would affect clubs and association badly after COVID-19 because most athletes have lost hope,” he said. 

“It is hard to train as athletes because it violated health protocols and parents were not allowing   athletes to go out for training anymore,” Madome observed.

The Taekwando athlete went on to add that for contact sport, training at home is hard.

He said there is no motive and courage that players get from teammates at their clubs and this will in the long run affect their performance if sport was to return to play.

His sentiments were also shared by the Botswana Wrestling Federation (BWF) president Moagi Sharp who stated that the players’ morale is on sinking sand.

The BWF president said wrestlers and rope skippers within his federation have lost interest in sport compared to last year.

He said BWF expected a better year in 2021, after they managed to complete all 10 events planned last year.

“BWF had less than 20 players participating last week in the online tournament compared to 70 players last year. Therefore, it is evident that BWF is going to start at the bottom since wrestlers have lost hope in both training and virtual events” he observed 

Debswana First Division North, Calendar Stars football club Player, Innocent Mogapi said he was consistent in training after a while he lost the morale to train and maintain his fitness.

“I have lost interest in football. I do not think if football returns it will be the same. Players do not train. Some are out of shape and age will not allow them to return to play,” Mogapi observed.

He said as it is right now, players are not certain whether football will return for good and for some who ‘treated sport like our jobs, we have found other means of income.’  

For his part Botswana Bridge Federation spokesperson Mbakisi Malilo stated that because bridge is a social sport that requires physical interaction most players have not been able to participate in online platforms. 

They have lost morale to play compared to last year when virtual competitions were booming.

“Sessions played online by local players have reduced, but there is an African Championship coming up which is likely to be held virtually,” he says.

“The lack of motivation from players will results in Botswana having less numbers in the tournament, as the players state the main challenges are also different time zones and availability,” he concluded.

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