Athletes stay motivated amid lockdown

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Coach David Abdelmalak and his team of athletes.

Professional coach David Abdelmalak, who offers training in sports such as modern pentathlon, laser run, fencing and many more under the supervision of the UIPM and Fencing Federations, said the lockdown has taken a toll on many competitions they have been looking forward to.

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, tremendous inconvenience has been caused across the globe. According to him, new challenges, which are also prevalent in his line of work and his training group, have been created physically and psychologically for athletes.

Abdelmalak told Bloemfontein Courant they are a close-knit training group that has been coming together for as much as six hours a day to train for laser running, fencing as well as swimming every weekday before lockdown, and to say that they all miss those training sessions, is an understatement.

“Team members were very positive about their training group’s performance as a whole and were excited for the competitive season.”

They had managed a relatively injury-free training season and when the rumours about Covid-19 arose, they were very conscious about safety, hygiene and acceptable social distancing during training. They also kept all of the equipment properly sanitised.

“Much like the rest of the world, we relied heavily on technology to monitor at-home training sessions as closely as possible, especially since we have a wide range of athletes, sports and levels in which they compete.

“We expected responsibility, motivation and effort that matched our own from each athlete involved in the group and we requested that the athletes and their parents be part of a WhatsApp group along with us to not only induce a feeling of accountability, but also to remind the athletes that they are not alone during the lockdown.”

The main mission of the David Abdelmalak School of Modern Pentathlon is to pass on the experience for sport and a healthy lifestyle to young kids. Even through these hard days the kids have been taught skills like having courage and working hard, which they can use in all phases of life.

“It helps kids to develop new skills and techniques, improve their hand-eye coordination, fitness, general health and endurance. Developing social skills and improving communication are also goals.

“The coaches are still sending daily programmes to the various groups; they are still expecting the same level of commitment and effort from each athlete; they are still readily available to every athlete for any help they might need, and as coaches they cannot wait to reunite with their athletes.

Heidre Malgas

heidre@mahareng.co.za