Thursday, February 29, 2024

Demystifying coronavirus on athletes

For some Batswana, coronavirus (Covid-19) appears like a crisis occurring in other continents. It is not an African problem they would like to think. 

That sense of security has however changed severely in the past two weeks as 36 African countries registered Covid-19 infections. 

While unlike her neighbours South Africa and Namibia, Botswana has yet to register Covid-19 cases, the domino effects are already being felt. 

The government has, as measure of precaution and prevention, cancelled all gatherings that are likely to spread the virus in case there is an outbreak in the country.

Under the sports dome, the pandemic has shifted from foreign leagues and tournaments being postponed and cancelled, to local federations and associations rescheduling tournaments on their calendars. 

Sport is usually ruled out during pandemics regardless of global strains, unfortunately, corona virus has put brakes on sporting activities worldwide.

While preparations for major events like the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games continue, it appears doubtful that the games will go ahead. 

The restriction on gatherings mean athletes will not compete or receive extensive training for a while. The effects of these limitations on athletes will affect the physical and mental fitness of athletes.

In an interview with Dolphins Basketball coach Shalosh Matsetse, he said the team stopped training on Thursday so it is going to take self discipline from players so that they do physical training like running to stay fit. 

It is still a mist when the league will commence, when the athletes will start training and the level of fitness of players when everything resumes. 

He added that there is nothing coaches can do because basketball is a team sport and we need to train together to build chemistry and tactical aspects of the game but we are advised to practice social distancing.

“The Basketball league was supposed to start in May but there has been a postponement. It is going to be hard to bring them back to fitness. When we started pre-season training, we had targets and goals to achieve before the season starts. Now the team will be forced to adjust program or regime because of Covid-19,” Matsetse observed.

For his part local professional boxing champion, Kutlwano Ogaketse said all the upcoming fights have been cancelled so there is no camp or training. 

“The gym has been closed too so it is all a setback, I have been doing roadwork in the meantime,” he added. 

In between fights, boxers take sometime off to rest but it goes along with staying active with mild training. 

“In boxing there is what we call ring-rust. Taking too long without an official fight, athletes appear to be slower and cannot get going because they will not be in peak form. We might experience that on our comeback” Ogaketse explained.  

Debswana First Division North (FDN) league, Calender Stars striker, Innocent Mogapi noted that the Coronavirus has ruined the momentum of the FDN league because competition between the top two teams and bottom teams was intense. 

He said the players are going to rust, and the player’s fitness level will start from zero because of no training. He concluded that he doubts players will be in peak fitness when the last four games of the league are played.


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