KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian athletes foresee a challenging return to regular training after the movement control order (MCO), despite attempts to maintain fitness at home with customised programmes and being creative with limited equipment.
When interviewed by CNA, sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy noted that home-based training would only aid him to maintain his stamina and not gain it.
“The lack of endurance will affect (training) after this MCO.
“I would mostly need to gain (back) the skills on water, as I have spent nearly six weeks without water training. It will be difficult to start again, especially to get the feeling of being on the boat and getting used to the surroundings,” the Asian Games silver medalist explained.
Similarly, diver Ng Yan Yee said: “It is maybe going to be difficult to go back to regular training. It has been quite difficult training at home without much facilities.”
TRAINING WITH TECHNOLOGY
Despite the constraints, the National Sports Council has attempted to keep up the training tempo for the athletes, with some aid from technology.
The council's athletes division director Jefri Ngadirin told CNA that with all training centres shut, coaches have been asked to design training programmes for those under their charge during the home confinement period, which will last until Apr 28.
“Some (athletes) have a single session training just in the morning while others have double sessions.
“The coaches are monitoring the athletes via Whatsapp or Zoom calls,” he said, adding that athlete compliance has improved tremendously since the first phase of the MCO.
Jefri said the home-based training sessions are focused on maintaining fitness levels, instead of developing specific skills as the athletes cannot access their usual facilities.
The first phase of the MCO, implemented to break the COVID-19 infection chain, was scheduled to end on Mar 31, but was later pushed back to Apr 14.
Under MCO, schools and non-essential businesses are closed. People are urged to stay at home to minimise contact as health authorities rush against the clock to contain the spread of the virus.
Several locations with a large number of cases were placed under an enhanced MCO, which further restricted the residents’ movement.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the MCO will be further extended until Apr 28.
Considering limited resources and space, the athletes had to find creative methods to work out effectively.
“Being at home allows me to get creative with my training plans,” said Ng, who is also an Asian Games silver medalist.
When asked how she was coping without access to a pool, the diver replied that she used whatever she had to emulate her pool surroundings.
“My training methods include imitation, strength training, headstands, stretching and foam rolling,” she said.
Khairulnizam, the sailor, also said that he is making the best of the equipment he has at home.
“With the limited equipment, most of the exercise I do is using body weights and resistance bands.
“I have also been doing some sailing-specific hiking and sheeting exercise,” he added.
He has also asked the National Sports Council for some endurance training equipment, such as a rowing machine.
SMALL NUMBER OF ATHLETES SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION
Although efforts by the sports council have helped the athletes to stay fit during this trying period, it also noted that a small number of them have been affected by being cooped up at home.
Jefri told CNA that based on a survey done by the council, 97 per cent of the 712 national athletes were coping well during the MCO period.
“However, about 1.5 per cent of them have told us that they were feeling depressed and pressured from being at home,” he said.
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When asked on the help rendered to this small group, Jefri said the council has arranged for psychological assistance to be made accessible to all 712 athletes.
“They are free to call and seek help whenever they need,” he said.