As the whole world steers towards change and revival post the pandemic blows, there are people in different parts of the world who have been sweating it out and training despite all limitations to prepare to represent their countries at the international level in Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Athletes who have worked day and night to regain their form are now close to fruition.
After being postponed for the whole year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Olympic Games are finally scheduled to happen between the 23rd of July and the 8th of August 2021. Ahead of the same, Indian Badminton Team Coach Pullela Gopichand shared his thoughts and the nervous excitement filling the air.
He shared that each of the athletes had been contained in their own homes with their own unique circumstances over the one year but nevertheless, have left no stone unturned to regain their “best physical, emotional and competitive shape” in order to put their best foot forward for the games.
Lauding the efforts of the Indian government towards the welfare and comfort of the athletes, and with a special focus on the Indian Badminton Team, the coach stated, “Today, each qualifier is being helped by an overseas coach, a physiotherapist and a strength and conditioning coach. It is a far cry from the times when such individual attention was not had. It is a situation that top countries aspire for…”
On the whole, he spoke on a very positive note with respect to the state of Indian sports. Quoting an episode from back in 2016, he remarked how the Indian contingent had not done particularly well in the Rio Olympics but Prime Minister Narendra Modi had nevertheless backed the team to give their best.
“I can see that change is being ushered into Indian sport, with the keen interest from the highest level to the grassroots creating a positive and more professional environment for sport in the country,” he said.
He showed appreciation for the measures which were taken by the authorities in this regard. A general “urgency” was identified well in time by those in power, to make arrangements that can facilitate the efforts of the athletes. He called it a “remarkable change” in the Indian context for having placed ‘Athletes First’.
Working in close coordination with the National Sports Federations and the Indian Olympic Association, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports ensured that the coaches’ contracts were extended. National Camps resumed in a safe and secure manner in the Centres of Excellence across the country.
Calling the global event “the biggest celebration of sport,” the Indian Badminton Team Coach who has previously been a part of the Olympic Task Force, exclaimed that he has high hopes that the efforts of the athletes and all other concerned authorities will bear fruit.
“It could be a turning point for us since we have invested significantly in our athletes. And there will be a positive benefit as it will propel more to take up sport and help India rise higher,” he said. With the coaches and athletes on board feeling so upbeat and hopeful, it sure appears to be that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are here to return the cheer and excitement to people in the grim times of the pandemic.
With a total of 11,091 athletes expected to participate representing 205 nations, this is certainly the biggest and most grand event the world will witness in a long time. The Games will feature a total of 339 events in 33 different sports, across 50 disciplines. The motto for the Games this year being, ‘United By Emotion’.
We wish our athletes all the best and hope for laurels to return!