- Often it has been repeated over the past several months that the pandemic has not left any sector untouched with its debilitating effects rendering a deathly blow. Many sectors and their auxiliaries are in the process of recovering which by conservative estimate should take quite some time to revert to pre-pandemic normalcy. Human resilience to fight back in the face of mounting challenges and adversities is dime a dozen where inspirational stories abound pulling through remarkably when everybody else thought otherwise. The sporting arena too faced uncertain times when the marquee event like the Olympics had to be postponed owing to the global pandemic.
PC: Sandra O’Loughlin
- As the nation’s gradually found a way to emerge from the distressing scenario by opening long-stalled economic activities, the sporting field too opened with utmost precautions adhering to mandated safety and health standards. It would be an understatement to mention that complete shutting of sporting activities may never have occurred previously in the documented history owing to the deadly virus. In a first of its kind, football contests were eventually allowed to commence without any in-stadium spectators triggering a slew of other sporting federations to follow suit. Of course, televised sport in an empty stadium could resume promising a novel experience.
- Once football set the tone for other sporting activities to follow, cricket too was not far behind with England setting the template by developing a bio-secure bubble to ensure safety and health of the players, supports staffs, and officials with no compromises. This move turned out to be a masterstroke as the resumption of sporting activities could be hastened through exacting standards demanded to maintain a bio-secure bubble. Indeed it extracted a tremendous amount of sacrifices from the sportspersons. As the popular team sports like football and cricket demanded moving from one bubble to another, there were murmurs of ruinous mental fatigue setting in after a while.
PC: Rohan Abraham
- Yes, it is not easy to live out of the suitcase hopping from one venue into another after serving quarantine specifications, differently applied in respective countries, taking a toll on the players. Staying away from family’s months on is not an ideal situation for anybody either. Professional sportspersons are expected to perform at the highest levels that cannot be allowed to taper off for want of optimal contributions. No wonder, many elite sportspersons have already pulled out of competitions stating mental burnouts as the reason. Sports administrators too have exhibited welcoming understanding by allowing such withdrawals on compassionate grounds.
- Silver lining visible as per the available indications are most encouraging as not only the sportspersons are getting used to the new norm of playing under a bio-bubble but also audiences too, the real patrons, who are quite welcoming in watching the unfolding spectacle on the television. As we are seeing in the India-Australia Cricket Series Down Under, limited spectators are indeed watching from the stands giving credence to the view that things will return to normalcy sooner than later. More happy tides wait for the sporting fraternity in 2021.