The two-time South Asian Games gold-medalist talked about going through without any kind of training for the first time in her 10-year long career due to Covid-19 pandemic that suspended all sports activities indefinitely and forced Mabia sit down idle at home for 42 days now
The country’s premier weightlifter, Mabia Akter Shimanta, locked down in Dhaka, is worried about the fitness and gaining weight due to no practice at all at home for a long time.
She also expressed concern regarding the poor financial condition of her fellow athletes.
The two-time South Asian Games gold-medalist talked about going through without any kind of training for the first time in her 10-year long career due to Covid-19 pandemic that suspended all sports activities indefinitely and forced Mabia sit down idle at home for 42 days now.
“There’s nothing much to do than eat and sleep because it is not possible to do weight training at home. I followed a routine for 10 years and never spent a break for more than two days, even when I was injured,” Mabia told Dhaka Tribune Tuesday.
Mabia is the only Bangladesh athlete to win consecutive gold medals at both the 2016 SAG in Guwahati, India (64kilograms weight category) and 2019 SAG in Pokhara, Nepal (76kg).
“I played with injured right elbow during the 2016 SAG, after that doctor advised me to take long-term rest, but I was stubborn to join practice the next day due to the Rio Olympics,” said Mabia.
“This time it is positive for me because I got injured in right wrist before SAG 2019 and doctor said I must rest my hand. But it is difficult for other weightlifters because we all have to start training from the beginner’s level due to long break.”
Even during the normal days, the weightlifters had complained about lack of space at the practice venues as well as insufficient and timeworn equipment of the federation that caught media attention on several occasions.
@BCBtigers ODI captain @TamimOfficial28 has come forward to help 91 struggling sportsmen, both former and current, amid the coronavirus outbreak.https://t.co/xFETQShBX7#BCBTIGERS #BCB #TIGERS #BANGLADESH #CRICKET #BANGLADESHCRICKET #TAMIMIQBAL #TAMIM #IQBAL #KHANApril 28, 2020
“All weightlifters come from low- or middle-class families. They live in congested apartments and it is impossible to practice at home. There is also no online solution,” said the Ansar and Village Defence Party athlete.
“We are told to change the diet and not to go for food we usually took during training because we can’t burn the calories now. Yet I think almost all weightlifters will gain four-five kg more weight than their respective category when they resume training,” said Mabia.
“It may take six months to reach half of our performance level when things get normal,” she said, adding concern about their upcoming show in the 9th Bangladesh Games, previously scheduled for April 1-10 before the postponement.
There has also been immense concern about the economic condition of the athletes as she said many of them are planning to say goodbye to the sport that handed them nothing back in return, especially during the lockdown situation.
Mabia informed that the prize money of Tk6 lakhs she received for winning gold at the 2019 SAG in Nepal is now being spent to survive the locked down days with a brother, a sister and parents in Khilgaon.
“There’s no other way. The corona cases are increasing day by day and it will become more difficult in coming days,” said Mabia.
“We worked very hard and struggled a lot to earn a gold medal for the country. We have literally no earning and I’m not happy with the prize money as well. You can guess the situation is worse for other athletes. Many of them can’t just ask for money due to dignity reasons.”
“Another thing should be mentioned,” urged Mabia before concluding, “Some athletes are finding their love for sports quite meaningless because there is no income and no future. In such coronavirus situation, they are planning to retire from the game with sorrow and anxiety.”