Indian hockey goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh said the biggest challenge for sportspersons post COVID-19 will be the frequent occurrence of injuries and its management.

Sreejesh was speaking at a webinar ‘Post COVID Sports Arena’ conducted by State Council of Educational Research & Training (SCERT) here on Monday.

The former India captain said the forced long break from high-intensity training, and the pressure to get back to competition quickly, will lead to overtraining and may lead to injuries.

“It is the first time, apart from injury breaks, that I am spending such a long time away from training. We started our camp today (Monday). But I don’t know how my body will react after five months of inactivity.

“With the pressure to get back quickly to competition, you train hard and the chances of recurrence of injuries are high. It is something which every sportsperson will have to deal with in the post-COVID scenario.”

Sreejesh said it would be a slow process to reach the standards that prevailed before the pandemic for him and the entire Indian team.

“We were World No. 4 before the pandemic began. There were no tournaments and the Olympics also was postponed. Now we have to start from scratch.

“I think the next competition is in November and we have more than three months to get back to pre-COVID standards. We have kept that as a goal and should work mentally and physically to reach there. The schedule of the Tokyo Olympics will also keep us motivated to reach our peak,” he said.

Learn to co-exist

Sreejesh said in the changed scenario everyone should learn to co-exist with the pandemic and sportspersons should brace themselves to play in front of empty stadiums.

“The pandemic is not over, but live sports like Test cricket, EPL and Serie A were held in controlled environments. Other sports also will soon follow this bio-secure protocol.

“Though it may look odd, sportspersons should brace themselves to play in front of empty stadiums. Personally for me, I will miss the spectators but it’s something you can’t help,” he said.

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