The 25-year-old shuttler trains at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.

The coronavirus outbreak has taken the world by surprise as the world is finding its ways to combat the pandemic. Major sporting events have been postponed along with the Olympics which was supposed to take place in Tokyo this year.

The Olympics have been shifted to the next year and Indian shuttler Sameer Verma feels that this break will allow the sportspersons to come and compete at an equal level.

“This break brings everyone at the 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,” Sameer Verma told PTI.

“When things become normal, I don’t think people will straight away run after tournaments. It is the same situation for everybody right now, so at least players will train for at least six weeks before turning up for the tournament.”

He was on a winning spree in 2018 when the Madhya Pradesh shuttler won back to back three championships and was on the verge of entering the top 10 rankings bracket last year but a horrible shoulder injury followed by a dry patch meant the chance was already gone.

“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 Verma, 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.”

Despite all the uncertainties for athletes in this crisis, he feels that a six-week-long training regime after things turn to normal will be enough to prepare athletes physically for their various events. This pandemic has forced Badminton World Federation (BWF) to postpone all tournaments till the end of July and may get prolonged eventually considering the situation.

“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 Verma opined.

While the athletes are forced to stay indoors and train a lot of mental health issues and anxiety have popped up among the people but Indian shuttler feels that doing regular exercises and the physical workout will keep the mental issues under control. “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 remarked.

With the unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases all over the world and the death toll increasing everyday, the 25-year old feels that it will become a realisation for the people to coexist with nature and not take it for granted.

He said, “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. I hope after the crisis is over, it will change people’s outlook towards things. We should not do anything that harms nature,” concluded Sameer, who is spending this time at home only after about 14 years.”

The coronavirus pandemic has taken over 500 lives in India with over 17,000 infected resulting in a nationwide lockdown. The numbers are more horrific at the world stage with 1,65,174 recorded deaths and over 24 lakh cases globally.