Exclusive: 'Decision to postpone the Games was right' - Anjum Moudgil on Tokyo Olympics deferral
In an exclusive interview with WION’s Sports Editor, Digvijay Singh Deo, ace shooter Anjum Moudgil spoke about a lot of things ranging from her qualification in 2018, the decision to postpone the Olympics, how she is dealing with the 21-day lockdown period and much more.
Ace shooter Anjum Moudgil was one of the first to seal qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics back in 2018. Everything was going as per the plan before the situation surrounding COVID-19 started to turn around. Eventually, India and almost the entire world was in lockdown due to the pandemic which forced the International Olympic Committee to postpone the quadrennial event by a year.
The Tokyo Olympics will now open on July 23, 2021, with the closing ceremony scheduled to be held on August 8, 2021. Hence, the wait to battle it out in the grandest stage of all was extended not only for Anjum but for every other athlete who had qualified for the Games or were favourites to do so.
In an exclusive interview with WION’s Sports Editor, Digvijay Singh Deo, Anjum Moudgil spoke about a lot of things ranging from her qualification in 2018, the decision to postpone the Olympics, how she is dealing with the 21-day lockdown period and much more.
Anjum bagged her Olympics qualification back in 2018 but since then it has been a waiting game for her as she continued to participate in selection trials and ISSF World Cups to maintain her rankings. Anjum termed the waiting game as a ‘bit strange’ while adding the extra 15 months can be positive for athletes as it gives more time for preparation.
“I think the decision was right to postpone the games, but it has been a really long time since we qualified so it is a bit strange. We have about 15 months to go for the games which give us more time for preparation which can be a positive thing,” Anjum told WION.
“I can't go out and train right now so at home I’m focusing more on my physical training, I’m working out properly. So I’m using this period very well to focus on my physical and mental well-being, also get to spend time with my family, so I’m adapting very well.”
There was a lot of talk surrounding the postponement or cancellation of the Games before it was officially announced that the quadrennial event will be delayed by a year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The move to postpone the Games has been well received by the athletes and sporting federations, and Anjum echoes the same thought as she said that outdoor training wasn’t possible during the lockdown and moving the Games by a year was a good move. The two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist further said that she will now draw a fresh plan with her coach and wait for the ISSF to announce the tournament schedule.
“I was happy that the Games were postponed, everyone was stressed given the uncertainty surrounding the games. Given the fact that every sport needs outdoor training for preparation, which of course wasn't possible during the lockdown, the decision to postpone the Games was the right one.
“But now all the International federations and National Olympic Committees need to rework their calendar and go back to the drawing board. So I think it's more work for the authorities rather than the athletes. We athletes will continue to practice and work on our physical health, which is our job. I will draw up a plan with my coach and wait for the ISSF to announce the tournament schedule so that i can prepare a detailed plan leading up to the games,” Anjum explained.
However, a bigger test for all the competing athletes is that they are not able to train outdoors during the lockdown. All the training is limited to their residences and personal gyms. Anjum said that there’s a sense of uncertainty surrounding the fixtures while adding everyone is on the same boat given the current situation with novel coronavirus.
“Even though the games have been postponed, we don't know when we will play our first tournament- it might be June, July, September or even later than that. It all depends on the state of the disease.
“So it’s very uncertain, all we can do is hope for the best but it’s also impossible to predict anything right now. It’s not just us athletes, everyone is in the same boat right now. The fact that we will wait for so long for the next tournament will only add on to our experience as athletes. I hope everyone is safe till then and whenever the time comes they are ready to compete. The uncertain times are affecting the athletes mentally as well, but there is no option as the lockdown is mandatory for everyone. So we have to adapt and cope with it, there is no other option,” Anjum said.
Anjum is now enjoying being at home and spending time with her family. Painting and reading books on body muscles are keeping Anjum busy during the 21-day lockdown phase.
“I'm very happy being at home, have been spending time with my family. I live in joint family so there are about 10 people in the house which is great. No one is going gout obviously and we are taking necessary precautions. I have more time to paint, which is something i always wanted to do. I'm learning how to dance from my cousin and how to juggle from my brother. I'm also learning about the various muscles in the body, which will help me when I’m at the physio the next time to explain the problem.
“Like I said before I've been working out and also sharing videos on social media. I'm just trying to stay positive as much as i can. I see other athletes and they are a bit down because of the lockdown. But this is something that's not in our control, so i feel we should make the best use of this time, posting videos and trying to stay upbeat,” she said.