With sports training and coaching shut due to the lockdown, many children and young teens moved online to nurture their sports bug.
Bengaluru: Young athletes breathed a sigh of relief as training and residential programs run by sports academies and institutes resumed on the ground training in batches, keeping Covid-19 protocols in mind.
Over the past year, during the pandemic, young athletes found themselves shoe-tied, kitted up in uniforms and sports gear, opening their laptops to join in on the weekly zoom call drills from their coaches.
“The past year has been hard for students and state athletes alike. They have missed close to a year of training,” says Sadiq, a rock-climbing coach at Kanteerava Sports stadium. He added that they’re back on track, training with state athletes. Other privately trained batches are now growing in number.
Ripin, a football player, said that he and his fellow teammates have started getting their adrenaline dose. He added that training, games and tournaments have resumed across the city.
Karnataka government allowed the reopening of sports complexes and stadiums in the state in August, 2020. Sports schools and institutes were quick to setup Covid-19 regulated training plans to tackle the drop in athlete turnout.
“We used to train about 600 children in football across 17 centers as a part of soccer school program, until we had to shut shop due to the lockdown”, said Susmith Varkey Thomas, Operations manager at the Bangalore Football Club (BFC). He added that since the government mandate, BFC has opened up seven centers that cater to around 200 students.
“All the classes are taken in batches, maintaining a reasonably restricted head count, following the strict guidelines laid down by the All India Football Federation (AIFF),” Susmith emphasized.
Sandhya Manjunath, basketball coach and founder of ATSIY, a sports management and training company, paints a similar picture “We were training 500 students pre-covid, across six centers. When we moved the training online, the number reduced to 120 students,” she said.
Manjunath said that the numbers are growing much faster than they did pre-Covid. “Surprisingly, we are now training 240 students in one center, which is a sharp increase in the intake growth ratio in comparison to last year. It is monument to the fact that students were waiting to get back on the field to sweat it out,” she added.