The lockdown necessitated due to the Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing norms and other restrictions have forced athletes to stay away from sports facilities. In order to infuse energy into the dull routine of players, the directorate of sports and youth services of Maharashtra organised a virtual national level athletics fitness championship.
It turned out to be a very good initiative as 2,500 persons from across the country participated in the championship. Since it was an open championship along with athletes, schoolchildren, and people from other professions also participated in it.
“Government of India has started the Fit India Movement after which between August 15 and October 2, the Fit India Freedom run was launched. Both of these activities were based on the willingness of the people. On the same lines, we decided to come out with an idea of eNERGIZE — virtual national level athletics fitness championship,” said Omprakash Bakoria, commissioner of sports, Maharashtra.
The top three winners in boys’ and girls’ categories received cash reward (see Box 1) while others were given certificates.
Among girls, national level gymnast Shraddha Talekar from Raigad clinched the top position while among boys Shiv Yadav, a fitness coach from Satara, claimed the first place.
First position winners received cash prizes of Rs 75,000 while second and third rank holders received Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively.
“Since no sports activity is currently being organised and even schools are closed, so the initiative was to engage athletes by taking virtual fitness activities’ sessions. We had given three types of demo exercise videos – all the participants had to perform these exercises for 10 minutes each and upload the video,” explained Bakoria. (See Box 2).
“We had noticed that, if we arrange a webinar then very few athletes participated in it. Since this was physical activity and cash reward was included, it helped motivate many athletes. And financially also, winning athletes got the benefit during Covid-19,” added Bakoria.
The event was launched on August 29, National Sports Day and it concluded on September 30. It was jointly conducted by directorate of sports Maharashtra in collaboration with Xtraliving Pvt Ltd.
“It was a unique experience where some were very good with their body movements while some needed to make their movements more accurate. We have launched an online programme to solve it,” said Rishikesh Kumar, CEO, Xtraliving.
Position: Girls: Boys: Prize money
1. Shraddha Talekar, Raigad; Shiv Yadav, Satara; Rs 75,000
2. Manaswee Jamjare, Tumsar; Sajan Agarwal, Pune; Rs 50,000
3. Rujula Bhonsle, Pune; Pravesh Tamang, Gangtok; Rs 25,000
Every workout has to be performed for 10 minutes
Workout 1: 10 minutes Amrap (2,4, 6 is ascending ladder and keep increasing by 2 reps) jump squats and burpees
Workout 2: Four rounds a time; 20 sit ups, 30 alt forward lunges; 40 lateral hops (over 1 litre bottle)
Workout 3: (40-20-10-20-40); hand release push-up; floor to overhead (with two 1 litre bottles)
The participants who had more proper body movement were named winners.
Shraddha Talekar, gymnast, said, “It was a completely different experience, since we are in completely different routines and all tournaments have been cancelled. This was a great opportunity to compete on a different platform.”
Rujula Bhonsle, an athlete from Pune, said, “All three workouts were challenging and were planned in such a way that the judges can see complete fitness level of the body.”
Sajan Agarwal, a choreographer from Pune, said, “I enjoyed the competition completely. Being a choreographer, these exercises are even important for dancers. It can be done anywhere as no equipment is required.”
Shiv Yadav, a fitness coach from Satara, said, “Since I used to run 400 and 800 metres, I was familiar with all these exercises. I prepared all three videos in one day.”
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