Will Be Good If We Are Allowed to Train Within The Facility: Annu Rani

New Delhi: Javelin thrower Annu Rani said that it will be good if the Sports Ministry and Sports Authority of India allow athletes who are in the national camps during the ongoing lockdown period to resume outdoor training within the facilities.

"If it happens then it's good. We don't have any problems here, we have been here at the hostel for some time now. Nobody from the outside is allowed to come in. So if we get the permission it will be good, we can continue our training," Annu told IANS.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had said on July 22 that it will request SAI and the Sports Ministry to allow athletes stuck in national camps to resume their training.

Annu is part of the Indian javelin contingents that were airlifted back from their foreign training camps in March as travel restrictions started being put in place in the wake of the raging coronavirus pandemic. She is now in the girls' hostel at the National Institute of Sport (NIS) in Patiala, Punjab, where she has been since her return from Potchefstroom, South Africa alongwith Vipin Kasana, Arshdeep Singh and coach Uwe Hohn.

They were initially to be quarantined for 14 days in the facility but their stay has been extended due to the lockdown that was declared in the country on March 25.

She said that keeping fitness levels up has been the athletes' main focus during this period and it is their biggest challenge.

"Before this all of us had put in a lot of work into our fitness. Now during this lockdown, we have missed out on most of this. We are trying now to ensure that our fitness levels don's slack off too much. We have some equipment here that we make use of," she said.

"Right now the main aim is to not let my fitness levels go down too much. The coach gives programmes accordingly which we do daily. So we do about 15-20 minutes of running. Then we do either core exercises or weights training with whatever is available here. We keep alternating it so one day it will be core exercises and the other will be with weights. We have javelins too in our rooms so we work with them.

"We train while maintaining social distancing. We are not allowed to go outside the hostel. The main gate is locked."

Meditation, reading books, watching motivational videos on Youtube and her own old videos to identify mistakes and faults is what Annu does so as to deal with the mental aspect of not being able to train.

"We are athletes and we are used to training 3-4 hours a day daily. But now we can't do that and that is certainly troubling for us. We try to keep ourselves focused with meditation, reading books. We watch old videos of ourselves and try to analyse what we did wrong," she said.

Annu said that she gets calls from her home everyday. "My father calls me daily. He keeps asking when training will start again, has it started or not. He keeps asking if I am training or not and I tell him to not worry. I am maintaining my fitness. He keeps telling me to not get out of my room and all," she said.

Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic wreaking havoc on the sporting calendar, Annu was one of the favourites to seal qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She had bettered her own national record with a throw of 62.43m in the qualification round at the 2019 Athletics World Championships and finished eighth in the finals. She was looking to breach the Olympic qualification mark of 64m but World Athletics has now frozen the qualification period till December 1.

When asked what her reaction was to the news, Annu said it didn't really make much of a difference. "My aim is still to qualify for the Olympics as early as possible. But now it is a very serious situation around the world and it is completely out of our hands now. So I am just taking whatever is coming my way right now.

"The only thing we are concerning ourselves with is keeping ourselves fit and prepared as much as possible and qualify in the first competition available after the lockdown," she said.