New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) The COVID-19 pandemic has brought mental health issues to the fore and it is very natural for athletes, who have missed out on qualification chance due to cancellation of events to vent their emotions, a panel of sports psychologists said on Friday.
'Mental health, especially for athletes, is often overlooked or ignored. The most important thing that athletes have learnt during the pandemic is to express themselves if they are feeling emotionally not up to the mark,' Mugdha Bavare, who works with many athletes, said.
'It has been heart-breaking for some whose qualifying or ranking events were cancelled and for others who could not travel for training or competition.
'Even for those who have qualified, the uncertainty presents a challenge but most of them are now looking forward to the Games. They are good at bouncing back.' Sanjana Kiran, who works with some Olympics-bound athletes, said 'it is not going to be easy especially for those athletes who are looking at Tokyo as their last Olympics.' 'To athletes who have been hurt by the cancellation of tournaments affects their Olympic hopes, I would suggest that they vent their emotions and frustrations, but to adopt problem-focused coping,' she said.
'When you know you can't control this situation, when you know you have been honest with your craft and effort, when you know have given your best, draw the comfort out of it.' 'The pandemic threw a googly at athletes, who are used to controlling situations. However, they now understand that it is okay to be uncomfortable, to feel helpless and that it could take a while for things to be normal,' she said.
The third panelist in the symposium, facilitated by the Sports Authority of India, Mrinal Chakraborty said that the pandemic offered the athletes an opportunity to analyse where they could get better.
'The pandemic offered athletes a good repairing time. They could work on areas of improvement and make it their strength.' PTI ATK KHS KHS