COVID-19 crisis puts brakes on athletes’ routine

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam’s athletes have been training from home following the closure of sporting facilities and complexes in line with the government’s measure of self-isolation and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From football to silat, the country’s leading athletes have to improvise their regular training schedule, and close communication with their coaches put on hold with a home workout to maintain their fitness levels.

Several national competitions across various sports have also been suspended since the middle of March with a number of events still to be completed.

With swimming competitions abandoned as the country’s sports associations join forces to combat the threat of the pandemic, national swimmer Muhammad Isa Ahmad is one of the athletes that have to get accustomed with sudden changes to his training routine.

Muhammad Isa, a national record holder in 50m breaststroke, has been actively keeping in shape through repetitions of medicine ball workouts and rowing at home.

The workout is highly beneficial for the national swimmer, who competed in the World Championships last year in South Korea, in keeping his fitness condition.

Fencing has also been one of the sports affected with weaponry work taking a hit.

Since the measure took effect last month, silat training was among the casualties of the immediate abandonment of training as athletes’ routines would be affected without the influence and presence of a coach.

The Baiduri Masters, held annually since 1995, is a major competition affected by the COVID-19 crisis as the country’s pool of golfers’ competitive appearance this year clouded in uncertainty.

For many, the Pusat Ehsan Charity Golf Tournament had intended to be the curtain raiser in the national golfing calendar until the announcement of the measure put paid on any plans.

Petanque athletes’ travel plans to Johor for a regional tournament at the end of April were instantly dashed, as well as squash players who have a number of events overseas lined up for exposure.

Most of the national athletes also have to wait for the latest announcement of the SUKMA Games in Malaysia, arguably one of the biggest multi-sport events for the country this year.