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– Dr. Vipul Lunawat, Director, Institute of Sports Science & Technology

“2020”. Most people would call it the most dreadful, devastating and the worst year of one’s life, anyone would have ever witnessed. Yes, it is true that the Covid-19 or the Corona virus situation has taken the world by storm and it seems never-ending with a lot of uncertainty looming around on when life would get back to being ‘Normal’ as it was before the covid era. The economy of almost all major developed and developing countries has already taken a hard hit and better times seem to be in the abyss. Every sector, be it agriculture, commerce, industrial or be it sport, has been profoundly affected by the pandemic, globally. The world is now in a new race, which is not for wealth, nor for any piece of land or property or fame but for ‘survival’.

With most of the mega sporting events like the Olympics, Wimbledon, or for that matter our very own, the cricketing Indian Premier League have either been postponed or cancelled. No one knows when this will end and how life is going to shift from the point we are at. Talking about sports, be it athletes, coaches, associations, federations or organizations involved in the sporting business have faced the wrath of the Corona virus outbreak. Athletes who have spent most of their lifetime training for a chance at the podium in the Olympics or any major sporting event, have had their dreams crushed by this brutal reality. Even governments of countries like Japan where the 2020 Olympics were to be hosted, or Qatar where the FIFA World Cup is to be hosted in 2022 are under serious pressure owing to the uncertainty of this global pandemic. Many national sports federations are on the brisk of bankruptcy as their major earning is from the broadcasting revenues of their respective sports, but with no major sport activity for the next few months have tie-up their hands for continuing with ongoing ever-increasing expenses.

The worst affected in this scenario, is the athlete, career wise, economically and psychologically too. An athlete whose complete focus is on performance, not on earning money or getting settled in life, but to ‘WIN’ a medal for his/her country. Upcoming athletes, who have dedicated their whole lives to sport have had to suddenly and abruptly stop their training due to mass lock-downs in their respective countries. Due to no sporting activities, the sporting economy has come to a standstill, with no revenues from games, sponsors pulling out and eventually no revenue for the athlete. Second in line to the athletes are the support staff, the coaches, fitness trainers, physios etc. who have had a cut in their revenue. The fans being the last, who are equally devoted to their respective teams and athletes are also at the losing end due to no sporting activity.

Sports, as it is made up of the elements like hard word, persistence, patience, dedication and all the words one can think of to get pumped-up or motivated, I think, will be the saviour of humanity post this global pandemic. The reason being, sports has tremendous power and ability to bring people together for a common goal, it imbibes the qualities of fighting back and having the never give up attitude. The world is going to need everyone to have a strong mindset and mental strength. Research has proved that those involved in sport and fitness have been the toughest when it comes to mental strength in the toughest of times. Life is certainly going to change, no one can predict how, but having said that, sports will certainly enable the world to be a better place again, once we are over this virus outbreak. While being involved in sports or fitness is not necessarily to perform at the highest level, but to feel good and positive just by participation. And believe me, all that we need now is the strength to go through these tough times, be hopeful and positive that things will be better soon. And there is no best medium than sports, which one can embrace! Be fit! Stay safe!

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