Coronavirus forces athletes to train at home

09:10 | 09/04/2020
Locked out of their grounds due to the coronavirus, V.League 1 players have been turning their homes into training centres, waiting for the pandemic to be over.
coronavirus forces athletes to train at home
Viettel defender Bui Tien Dung exercises with wife and daughter during social distancing. Photo of defender Bui Tien Dung.

COVID-19 has frozen most sporting events across the world. The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed, while people have been asked to follow social distancing rules to stop the virus from spreading.

Most football clubs have told their players to train from home to stay in good condition for when the season restarts, although no date has been confirmed yet.

“I warm up with a walk, slow run and then a sprint,” said national defender Bui Tien Dung.

“Then I move to push-ups and crunches which focus on strength. Sometimes for fun, I do it with my wife and daughter. These exercises keep me active all day, so I am ready for when we play our next game,” said the captain of Viettel FC.

Midfielder Nghiem Xuan Tu of Quang Ninh is also training at home, but still misses being out on the pitch.

“I'm training hard at home so that I can keep up with the pace of games when we are back,” said Tu.

“I really miss the grass and the atmosphere at the stadium. However, I also feel happy because I can cook for my kids and wife.”

At Nam Dinh, players have been asked to send clips of their training to their coaches for analysis and feedback.

And it's not just footballers. Other athletes are stuck at home too.

Olympic champion Hoang Xuan Vinh returned to Vietnam from a training camp in South Korea last month. He was in quarantine for 14 days before leaving, and spent 15 days in self isolation when he arrived home.

“During both quarantine and social distancing, I could not practise, but physical training was a must. I practised hard, read books, did yoga and watched the news on television,” said Vinh. “This positive lifestyle, in my opinion, helps to push the pandemic away.”

Boxer Truong Dinh Hoang and muay fighter Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat have not had a day off since social distancing began.

Hoang is hoping to get his first Olympic slot after claiming the World Boxing Association Asia super middleweight title in February. However, COVID-19 has hit his plans and closed his gym in Buon Ma Thuot.

“Everything has been delayed. I just try to train as well as possible. I hope that my performance will be good enough to take part in the Olympic qualifiers as well as international events I have been invited to after the WBA title,” said Hoang.

coronavirus forces athletes to train at home
Muay athlete Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat trains at home with his daughters. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat

At the same time in HCM City, Nhat has had little chance to spar.

“I don't have the same equipment at home that I train with at the gym. I've had to adjust and train well with the correct techniques,” said Nhat, whose second chance to compete at the world's largest martial art competition One Championship in March was blown away by the coronavirus.

“The more I work the faster I can integrate with the normal pace when the pandemic is eliminated.”

With a smart phone, rhythmic gymnastic coach Nguyen Thu Ha can train her athletes while they are at home.

After the tutorial, Ha watches her athletes do their exercises by phone and gives them advice

“They are at home to avoid the epidemic, not to rest. So they have to maintain training as normal. It will keep them fit,” said Ha.

She said this coaching method could only make up for 60 per cent of normal training because it depended on the quality of the internet. However it is still the best way in this tough time.

For some athletes, this period is a good chance to improve their skills and prepare for their comebacks.

Striker Nguyen Van Toan of Hoang Anh Gia Lai is not too concerned.

“We are in an isolated area and I believe we are safe from the virus,” said Toan, who is training as usual with his teammates in Pleiku City.

“This break gives me more time at the gym where I can improve my physique and technique,” he said.

Swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang is also working hard to make a name for himself at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been moved back to 2021.

Hoang is training without swimming while talking to his Chinese coach Huang Guohui via the internet to make sure their Olympic plan is on the right track.

“Social distancing does not affect my training plan. It forced me to concentrate more because I cannot go out. I also have time to search and learn from top athletes,” said Hoang.


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