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Apr 9 20

‘Swimming on land’ – Olympian Efimova wows with ‘mermaid’ pool-replacement workout tutorial

by ZwemZa

Instagram / pryanya93

Russian 3-time Olympic medalist swimmer Yulia Efimova has kept the quarantine content coming by producing a stunning tutorial on how to to ‘swim on dry land’ with an impressive ‘mermaid’ workout from her kitchen.

In an Instagram video posted on Thursday, Efimova shared tips on how to keep in tip top self-isolation swimming shape during lockdown and in the absence of an available pool in a clip titled “We’re swimming on land, or in the kitchen.”

“A lot of people are asking me which exercises can replace training in the pool,” the 28-year-old says in the video. “It’s practically impossible I’ll be honest because to swim in the pool you need to feel the water.

“But there are a few exercises that in my view are similar enough to the feeling you get when swimming in the pool. They might not help you to swim faster in any way but they can help keep you in shape and improve your technique!”

Suspending her top half off the worktop, Efimova proceeds to pull off imitations of her famous breaststroke, the discipline that has brought her six world titles and three Olympic medals, with every movement becoming ever so slightly less graceful until she gives under the weight of her own body and almost nose-dives onto the floor.

Efimova, who won double silver at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, then flips herself over for backstroke before finishing off with front crawl to conclude the technique masterclass.

Next the California-based blonde executes a floor leg workout on the floor with a little added dance routine.

The pool ace saved the best until last in her DIY workout, flipping onto her front to rhythmically roll her body to imitate the movements of a fish.

“Everything that’s old is new again! Grab a couple of swimming exercises on dry land. Don’t be sad and don’t get ill. PS I swim better than I talk and film the video, and on dry land – only so so. On the bright side I’m always positive,” she wrote in the video caption.

Efimova, who won her first Olympic medal when she bagged a bronze in the 200m breaststroke at London 2012, has had a busy time in quarantine; as well as her topless photo session on the beach, the star also coyly hinted that a Juventus player had been keen to hook up with her although she was less forthcoming on his identity or the details for that potential arrangement.

RTSports

Apr 9 20

AUSC Region 5 Annual Sport awards postponed

by ZwemZa

The AUSC Region 5 has postponed the 5th edition of the Regional Annual Sport Awards (RASA) which was to be hosted in Eswatini on the 23 May 2020. The decision followed the AUSC Region 5 Troika of Ministers’ decision to put all activities planned for the first six months of the year on hold. This was resolved in the first ever Troika of Ministers virtual meeting held on 2 April 2020 via a digital platform. A new date for the event will be considered once the pandemic is declared over.

Confirming the decision to postpone the RASA, the CEO of the AUSC Region 5, Mr Stanley Mutoya said “The Troika of Ministers took a decision to halt all activities of the Region in the first half of the year due to the crisis caused by the Coronavirus in the world and in particular in our region”. Mutoya further said, “With most of our Member Countries having introduced responsive measures that include strict social distancing and travel restrictions, the ministers complimented government efforts by postponing all sports activities of the Region which includes the RASA.”

The RASA is an event that celebrates excellence and outstanding performances by sportsmen and sportswomen. It aims to motivate and celebrate the iconic contributions by our sportsmen and sportswomen to the development of sport every year. The event is open only to those countries that host their own National Annual Sports Awards as winners of these national awards become automatic nominees for the RASA.

The Region is delighted to note that all 10 Member Countries of now host their own National Sports Awards up from six that were hosting such by 2016 when the RASA was introduced. The inaugural edition of RASA was held in 2016 in South Africa who went on to host the first three edition of the event before the awards moved to Namibia, Windhoek in 2019.

The event has grown in popularity over the years and has continued to attract attention from athletes, administrators and technical officials. Captioned under the theme, “Celebrating excellence, Inspiring Innovation!”, the RASA has stimulated the spirit of excellence throughout the sports delivery system in the Region. Sports icons in the Region such as the current Zimbabwe Minister of Youth, Sports and Recreation, Honourable Dr. Kirsty Coventry, Caster Semenya and Wayde Van Niekerk are some of the cast of Galactico of stars that have gone on to win gongs at the RASA since its inception. Karabo Sibanda of Botswana, coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba from Zimbabwe, sports journalists such as Batho Bareng Kortjaas- also known as BBK, Ferai Machamire from Zimbabwe and OG Molefe from South Africa are also recipients of RASA awards over the years.

Nominees for the 5th edition of the RASA were currently being received in readiness for the voting process that was due to commence on the 15th of April after verification by the awards audit firm. “Given the postponement of the event and the fact that the voting process had not yet commenced, we will have to reconsider the event delivery roadmap to recast the process once we have a clearer picture of the status of the novel COVID-19 pandemic,” Mutoya said.

The event involves a very stringent three phase selection process that ends with a selection process by a voting college of carefully selected sports journalists from each Member Country who vote for the winner and runners up for each of the twelve RASA categories.

EDITORS NOTE:

The AUSC Region 5 is a microcosm of what existed since the 1960s as the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA). The SCSA was established on the 14 December 1966 and served as a specialized agency of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for the coordination of the Africa Sports Movement and to utilize Sport in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid on the continent. Invariably, the SCSA was essentially a political organization which furthered the aims and objectives of the OAU through Sport. The SCSA was harmonised into the AU functions on the 26th of July 2013 at the fifth Conference of African Ministers of Sport (CAMS 5), held in Abidjan Cote d ‘Ivoire which saw the birth of the African Union Sports Council whose headquarters is in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The main aim of the AUSC is to stimulate sports growth and excellence in Africa, while using sports to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa i.e. sport as a vehicle of encouraging people to develop and come together, irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender.

The AU divided Africa into five Sports Development Regions and Southern African countries fall in Region 5.

The African Union Sport Council Region 5 (AUSC Region5) is the sports arm of the African Union responsible for coordinating all sports development matters in Southern Africa. The AUSC Region 5 Member Countries are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 has a battery of programmes which include the Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA), Region 5 Youth Games, Podium Performance Programme (PPP), Women Leadership Programme (WLP), Regional Marathon and Regional Museum which will be based in Zimbabwe following the signing of the MoU on 29 January 2020.

Supplied

Apr 9 20

Home pool solves dilemma for Chalmers

by ZwemZa

Kyle Chalmers has installed a flume pool next to his house to train in isolation for Tokyo. Credit: AAP

After spending time “off the grid” to ponder his next move, Olympic swimming champion Kyle Chalmers has found a solution to his training dilemma in his own backyard.

Well, beside his house to be exact.

With swimmers forced to get creative in self isolation to stay on track for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Chalmers will install a makeshift flume pool next to his Adelaide home as he plots his 100m freestyle title defence.

“It has a powerful jet to swim against and I get to custom design it to my preferences,” Chalmers told World Swimming Magazine.

“Where I live in Glenelg we don’t have huge backyards. In fact in my place I actually don’t have a backyard.

“So we had to take out part of my garden and put a cement slab down to be able to house it for the time being down the side of my house.”

After pools were closed due to coronavirus last month, Chalmers needed to think outside the box.

Still, Chalmers surprised many with his next move.

He decided to leave his Glenelg home and spend two weeks roughing it on a property near the South Australian fishing village of Streaky Bay, more than seven hours away, armed with a spear gun, wetsuit and swag.

He used the time away to contemplate a training solution but returned home with self isolation measures enforced – and promptly found his answer.

His coach Peter Bishop got in contact with a Queensland-based container pools company who will install the custom flume pool in the next month.

“It’s a huge stress off my mind and that really was my biggest concern not being able to swim for six months,” Chalmers said.

“I’m so grateful that the company has jumped on board and are willing to support me through it.

“They are going to put my signature on the bottom on the pool which is pretty cool and I’ll add a few of my own touches to it so it will really feel like my own.

“It will make the time go that much quicker and it’s one less thing I don’t have to worry about.”

AAP

Apr 9 20

Hundreds of doping cheats are set to benefit from the Tokyo Olympics being moved to 2021 and there is nothing WADA can do

by ZwemZa

Doping cheats are set to benefit from the Olympics being postponed by a year as some bans will expire before its new start date.

The Olympics was due to take place in Tokyo in July and August of this year but will now begin on July 23, 2021.

It is one of a number of events worldwide that has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.Narsingh Yadav was banned for four years in 2016 for using steroids

Narsingh Yadav was banned for four years in 2016 for using steroids Getty Images

More than 200 track and field athletes alone will see their bans expire before May next year meaning they will now be eligible for the showpiece event.

President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Witold Banka, says the organisation is powerless to do anything about it as they cannot dictate specific dates as to when a ban starts or finishes.

Banka told The Times: “A ban is about the length, it is not dedicated to concrete sports events and if they happen or not.

“There is no provision in the code for anti-doping organisations to cherry-pick periods of time in which the athlete would have more or fewer events to compete in. While an athlete cannot choose when he or she would like to be ineligible, an anti-doping organisation cannot either.”

Alan Brazil wants footballers to donate to the NHS amid coronavirus pandemic

Those who will be eligible for the Tokyo Olympics include India’s Commonwealth Games gold medal winning wrestler Narsingh Yadav, who got a four year ban in 2016 for taking steroids.

Japan swimming star Junya Koga will also now be able to take part after getting a two year ban for testing positive for anabolic agents in 2018.

The IOC has previously attempted to ban attempted to ban athletes for at least one Games but faced legal challenges and the suspensions can only cover fixed time periods.

Give COVID-19 the red card

The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again…

STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.

The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

| TalkSport

Apr 9 20

7 Tips for how Swimmers can get through tough times

by ZwemZa

W5AETC Gwangju, South Korea. 27th July, 2019. Swimming World Championships: Caeleb Dressel from the United States is between his two finals over 50 meters freestyle and 100 meters butterfly in the actually closed diving pool. Credit: Bernd Thissen/dpa/Alamy Live News

When was the last time you had a perfect season?

Conquered every swim practice?

Felt great in the water, every meter, of every day?

Precision-drilled your races, swimming a best time and world record every time out?

Sounds goofy when you read it aloud, right?

And yet, that is the expectation many of us have. That things will go well, all the time.

But that sure isn’t reality, is it?

We misjudge a flip-turn and break our foot heel-striking a cement pool gutter. We get pneumonia two weeks before the biggest meet of the year. We have a bad night of sleep, eat a past-best-date burrito and have a lousy workout.

Oh, and then a worldwide pandemic streaks across the planet like a wildfire in a hurricane.

But if you have learned anything from your time in the water, it’s that adversity, discomfort, and outright failure happen.

Adversity and tough times are part of the process.

I know… It feels unfair.

But the way you weather the storm can lead to your greatest victories.

It’s the swimmer who can find the silver linings, motivation, and new routines in the face of adversity who reap the benefits of the storm.

I am not talking about sugar-coating the seriousness of what you are experiencing.

Or pretending like everything is perfectly fine when it clearly is not.

This is about having a clear mind and a full heart so that you can tackle the struggle like J.J. Watt without undue stress and anxiety.

Here are some ideas for how swimmers can work their way through tough times.

1. Lean on your support system.

Your friends, family, coaches—they are there to provide unconditional love, psychological safety, and to remind you that you were made for this.

They are the sounding board to your fears, the backstop to your goals, and a voice of reason during turbulent times.

Talk out how you are feeling. Voice your concerns. Put together a battle plan with your coach to emerge from this stronger. You don’t need to go at this alone.

There is a lot of good that can come from one person chasing greatness, but when a group of people chase it together, excellence is inevitable.

Squad up and conquer

2. Be there for others in tough times.

Ever notice that you can give great advice to a teammate—Don’t give up! Focus on your technique! Try not pulling on the lane rope so much!—but have difficulty heeding that advice in your own life?

Instead of getting caught up in the endless cycle of dwelling of how your season is toast, or how your swimming has suffered, be strong for the people in your life.

Be a great teammate. Encourage, mentor and support younger swimmers. Be a good friend.

Be the rock, be the reason someone else’s day got better, even if you feel like the waves are close to coming over your head.

3. Journal out how you are feeling.

It’s not a G-14 classified secret that I am a big fan of journaling. Both in terms of evaluating past performances and for future journaling as a tool to mitigate stress and anxiety.

On days where you are feeling frustrated and helpless, journal out the whirlpool of fearful thoughts. Barf out your anxieties and fears through the tip of a ballpoint pen.

Putting your feelings and emotions into words and seeing them on paper helps you work through them. Often the act of just seeing how you are feeling written out gives the perspective you need to calm those fears.

4. Routines are your friend.

It’s easy to lose track of our routines and good habits when the results don’t pan out, or injury, illness, or a worldwide pandemic up-ends them.

Because we aren’t in our “regular” schedule our worst impulses quickly take over: Can’t train in the pool? Welp, better throw down on pizza pockets, doughnuts, and video games for the rest of the summer!

Even though we may complain about the early mornings and the long workouts, there is a great deal of comfort in the routine of these things.

Without them we can feel unmoored, latching on to new, less productive habits and routines.

Goals change, but your routines don’t have to.

Set a routine or process for yourself that you can build on each day.

Simple things, like going for a walk, waking up at a specific time, or making your bed won’t magically make tough times go away, but they will provide small anchors from which you can inflict positive change.

5. Emphasize gratitude.

Gratitude is a proven way to decrease anxiety and lend perspective to the turmoil in your life.

Yes, the outside world is scary, you worry for your parents, you are frustrated over your lost season—but you are healthy, you are able to spend more time on hobbies, and so on.

Keeping a daily gratitude journal isn’t about papering over the bad things in the world or dunking your head in the sand; it’s acknowledging the good in your life so that you have a clear perspective when it comes to dealing with the challenges ahead.

6. Focus on the things you control.

Be real about the things you control, and the things you don’t.

When you find yourself drifting into the arena of things you don’t control, stress, anxiety and frustration go up.

Can you make the pool reopen? Can you make the season come back on-line tomorrow?

No.

But you can exercise in your basement. You can eat healthy. You can make the most of the time spent with your family. You can log off social media.

7. This moment is your chance to rise.

In the story of every great athlete there are moments that defined them.

  • An injury that side-lined them for three months (and they bounced back stronger).
  • Burning out and retiring (and coming back a decade later and swimming faster than ever).
  • Goggles filling up with water during the final at the Olympics (and leaning on their stroke count to finish the race in world record time).

These are the character-defining moments where they were tested and rose to the occasion.

When you feel frustrated, or doubt is climbing the back of your throat, sit down with a pen and paper and write the answer to this simple question, “How can I make this the best thing to ever happen to me?”

This is the beginning of a new chapter of your life and your journey in the water.

Decide where the story will take you.

Apr 8 20

Adam Peaty faces extra pressure at Tokyo Olympics – swimming great Mark Spitz

by ZwemZa

Adam Peaty (SWM)

Swimming superstar Mark Spitz believes Adam Peaty will face the biggest challenge of his career when he bids to convert his dominance into more gold medals at next year’s delayed Tokyo Olympics.

As far as Spitz is concerned, the 25-year-old Peaty will be heading into uncharted waters when he aims to defend the 100 metres breaststroke title he claimed in Rio in 2016.

Spitz swept the board with seven gold medals, including four in the individual events, at the Munich Olympics in 1972, a record haul for a single Games that would last until 2008 when it was eclipsed by Michael Phelps.

Spitz announced his retirement at the age of 22 after Munich, resisting the opportunity to pursue a defence of his titles, something he considers an enormous task even for such a dominant figure as Peaty.

“Adam is going to have even more pressure on him now,” Spitz told the PA news agency.

“It’s one thing when you’re breaking on to the scene and you go to the Olympics and do well, but now he’s going to another Games with more responsibilities, and more things on his mind.

Adam Peaty

Adam Peaty won his first Olympic gold medal in Rio (Owen Humphreys/PA)

 

“For me, I knew I was going to retire after Munich. I wasn’t going to stick around for another four years for the next Olympics.

“That’s what makes the Olympics so interesting, that there are so many athletes who can come into their own in between the Olympics, but when the Olympics come around they’re nowhere to be seen.

“You get that fear of responsibility. I don’t think it is going to happen to him – I think he will be perfectly fine. But I think that is the toughest thing.”

Mark Spitz

Now 70, Mark Spitz retains a keen interest in swimming (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

 

Spitz, who had won two relay gold medals in his first Games in Mexico City at the age of 18, concedes that breaststroke, the only one in which he never won an individual medal, was his “worst stroke”.

Yet he admitted he has been able to marvel at the way Peaty has pushed the barriers of his chosen events, shattering his long-held ambition of breaking the 57-second barrier for the 100m at last year’s World Championships.

“I don’t know whether he’s working on strength techniques that are enabling him to get a better kick, or maybe it’s in his turns or his start,” added Spitz. “It looks like it’s down to a little bit of everything.”

Despite his premature retirement from the sport, Spitz, now 70, remains an interested observer and is waiting for his sport’s new star to emerge in Tokyo in 2021.

Phelps’ retirement after Rio with a record 23 gold medals to his name has left a vacancy for the next big star who is going to sweep the board in a manner begun by Spitz’s dominant series of performances in Munich.

“I think Caeleb Dressel has that chance,” Spitz added, picking out the 23-year-old American who won four individual gold medals at last year’s World Championships in South Korea.

“It will be the first Olympics without Michael Phelps so I think the world is fascinated to see who will fill his shoes. It might take several people to do it, but I think Caeleb may have the best chance.”

By Mark Staniforth, PA Olympics Correspondent

Apr 8 20

The revised qualifications principles for Tokyo 2020

by ZwemZa

he “Here We Go” Task Force has started its work, tackling the questions raised by the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the IOC Qualification Task Force already has approved a series of amendments.

The revision addresses the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, which led to rescheduling of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The qualification system consists of rules, procedures and criteria for participation to the Olympic Games, in line with the Olympic charter, and are approved by the IOC Executive Board.

What are the key points of the revised Tokyo 2020 qualification system?

First, the qualification period is extended. The deadline now is 29 June 2021. But international federations can define their own deadlines before this date. And the final sport entries deadline is 5 July 2021.

Second, the athletes and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) who already earned an Olympic qualification quota place will retain it. In all, 57% of the total athlete quota places have already been allocated. And there are about 5,000 athlete quota places still to be assigned.

The task force said “the priority remains to reflect, where possible, the allocation method/pathway of the original qualification systems for each sport.”

For some sports, however, the quota allocation was originally based on ranking. In such cases, the IFs retain full discretion to define the new ranking deadline and pathway.

LINZ, AUSTRIA - SEPTEMBER 01: Robbie Manson of New Zealand reacts by making a praying action after he qualifies his boat for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games in the B final during Day Eight of the 2019 World Rowing Championships on September 01, 2019 in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
LINZ, AUSTRIA – SEPTEMBER 01: Robbie Manson of New Zealand reacts by making a praying action after he qualifies his boat for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games in the B final during Day Eight of the 2019 World Rowing Championships on September 01, 2019 in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

“The IOC recognises the sensitivity of such decisions. A sport-specific balance needs to be found between protecting those athletes who were close to qualifying based on the previous 2020 deadlines and also ensuring the participation of the best athletes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by allowing the top performers of the 2021 season to qualify”, noted the task force.

Finally, the task force also addressed the eligibility criteria saying “it is possible for IFs to extend the age eligibility criteria, if such exist, and allow athletes who are eligible in 2020 to remain eligible to compete at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 from 23 July to 8 August 2021”. As an example, the men’s football tournament is based on aged criteria (U-23), which could be modified for Tokyo 2020.

Similarly, the IFs could re-assess the eligibility of those athletes who are not eligible in July 2020 but will meet the lower age limit in 2021.

Tokyo 2020

Apr 8 20

Fear of the Unknown: Locked-Down Athletes Face Mental Health Challenge

by ZwemZa

Chad le Clos (Facebook)

When Olympic swimming champion Kyle Chalmers completed what he knew would be his final training session before the coronavirus shutdown, his overwhelming feelings were of sadness and the fear of what was to come.

Fear does not come easily to the strapping 21-year-old Australian, who has endured two heart operations since winning the 100 metres freestyle title in Rio and raises crocodiles and pythons for a hobby.

While it took some “processing” to digest the fact that his dream of defending his Olympic title in Tokyo had been shifted back 12 months, it was the prospect of not setting foot in a swimming pool for half a year that really had him rattled.

“That was my hugest fear, not being able to do what I love which is swimming, and if I couldn’t do that for six months, I was getting pretty edgy about it,” Chalmers told Reuters by phone from South Australia.

“I love training and I love exercising. I think I love training more than I love racing.”

Chalmers is one of thousands of athletes whose dreams have been put on hold following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, while thousands more around the world are in lockdown with their sporting careers shelved indefinitely.

“Unknowns are quite challenging, especially for athletes whose days are mapped out from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to sleep,” Chalmers added.

“And that’s everybody’s fear, and especially mine, getting out of that structured routine and just trying to work out what to do with that free time now.”

SHOCK PHASE

Health experts warn that a prolonged isolation could take a big mental toll on people whose livelihoods and self esteem are intrinsically linked to competition.

“A lot of athletes are still in an initial shock phase, probably confused and also with some relief after all the chaos,” Caroline Anderson, a psychologist who works with professional and Olympic athletes in Australia, told Reuters.

“Probably their two main coping strategies in life are having that competitive edge and being able to really push themselves physically for six-seven hours a day. They haven’t got that anymore which is very difficult.”

Chalmers has taken to yoga, hiking and an exercise bike to keep in shape mentally and physically while he awaits the arrival of a loaned swimming pool housed in a shipping container for his back yard.

Former Olympic butterfly champion Chad le Clos is trying to make the best of the situation by tethering himself to a bungee cord as he swims in his own small backyard pool in Cape Town.

“It is not ideal, but you have to be creative given the limitations you have,” the South African told Reuters.

“That will help to keep me going.”

The top athletes possess exceptional drive, talent and the ability to perform under relentless pressure but they are no less vulnerable to mental health problems.

Many have spoken openly of their battles with depression and their recoveries from nervous breakdowns. Others carry their burdens quietly. A slew have committed suicide in recent years.

Self-isolation raises the threat of acute psychological events, and not just for athletes with pre-existing conditions, psychologist Anderson said.

“That sudden stopping of the sport, from a physiological or biological standpoint, there’s a reduction in endorphins but also (a loss of) identity,” she said.

“They see themselves as athletes and sport is very tied up in that. Without the sport, the inability to train, these are absolutely risk factors.”

‘WIGGING OUT’

Many athletes are putting a brave face on the lockdown, converting garages and bedrooms into home gymnasiums and posting cheerful videos of themselves on social media keeping fit by “bench-pressing” their children.

Tennis great Roger Federer cheered fans with a video of himself practising trick-shots against an outdoor wall as it snowed at his Switzerland home.

American middle distance runner Emma Coburn, who took bronze in the 3,000-metre steeplechase at Rio, told Reuters: “I’m not feeling stress or anxiety about it. I enjoy in general being at home.”

But the weeks and months of the lockdown will be a time when mental health experts on the payroll of teams and federations earn their keep as they try to plot a path for athletes in what is effectively uncharted territory.

Frustration at the confinement has already spilled over on occasion, with high profile soccer players getting into hot water for breaching government orders on social distancing by hosting parties and drinking sessions.

Such incidents usually occur as celebrations after competition, said Gearoid Towey, the founder of Crossing the Line, a charity focusing on the wellbeing of athletes.

“I think this is slightly different. There isn’t anything, per se, to celebrate. People are locked up in their houses,” he said.

“You’re probably going to get some incidents but with all the mental health resources in place, sports will generally know which athletes might be prone to ‘wigging out’.

“You’d like to think they’d have extra support for them.”

Reuters

Apr 8 20

Swimming coaches affected by sporting events suspension

by ZwemZa

Roos Nevelsteen (IPPMedia)

Swimming coaches in Tanzania have confessed to being hit hard by sporting events’ suspension because of the coronavis

Tanzania Swimming Coaches Association (TSCA)chairperson Noel Kiunsi yesterday said the pandemic has stopped them from training swimmers at various places and as a result many coaches are suffering.

He said TSCA has more than 100 registered members and almost half of them depend on the sport for their daily lives as they are paid after training sessions.

“This pandemic has presented a huge challenge to many people in the society, especially the swimming coaches who depend on training swimmers to bring food on their tables,’’ he noted.

‘’Many coaches are paid after training swimmers, very few of them are employed by clubs or schools which offer swimming lessons,” he said.

Coronavirus pandemic, which had claimed nearly 70 000 lives and registered more than 1.2 million cases globally, has halted sport activities worldwide.

During this time, many local sports associations have announced that they are closely following their athletes by among other things giving the latter exercises to do at their respective places.

However, Kiunsi said TSCA does not have enough capacity to follow swimmers and the association has instead asked the swimmers to take safety measures while maintaining physical exercises.

“To be honest, this is a difficult period not only to coaches but also to swimmers themselves, I believe that, to keep themselves in shape the swimmers are doing some physical exercises at their respective homes,’’ he disclosed.

‘’TSCA does not have capacity to follow them (swimmers) I’m sure those who belong to clubs are being followed by their clubs. I’m advising those who have the privilege of hiring a coach to do so,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ramadhan Namkoveka, who was training the Paralympic swimmers who were preparing to compete at various Paralympic swimming series, yesterday said the World Paralympic Swimming Association has postponed the Berlin series which was scheduled for June 18-21.

He said two Paralympic swimmers Amos Boniface and Ahmed Khamis were earmarked to represent the country at the Berlin series.

“ The World Para Swimming Association has communicated to us, Tanzania Paralympic Committee (TPC), that all world swimming series which were to be held this year as qualifiers for Tokyo Paralympics have been postponed to a date to be announced,”he said.

Other series which were postponed as precautions measure to ensure stakeholders are not at risk are Sao Paulo Series, which had been for March 24-26, Sheffield Swimming Series which was slated for this week and the Indianapolis which was scheduled for April 16-18.

Other series, which have faced postponement, are Singapore and Italy events.

IPPMedia

 

 

 

Apr 7 20

‘It’s still hard to believe’: Kieren Perkins recalls Atlanta gold

by ZwemZa

Kieren Perkins triumphs in Atlanta in 1996.Credit:Tim Clayton.

Twenty-four years after claiming an unlikely Atlanta Olympic 1500m freestyle gold, Kieren Perkins admits he still wonders at times how he did it.

But the swimming great says the self-belief gained from his famous underdog victory from lane eight in 1996 set him up for success in life.

And he believes today’s swimmers have the chance to gain similar mental fortitude by tackling the difficulties of the coronavirus shutdown as they readjust to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Perkins went to Atlanta as the defending Olympic champion in 1500m freestyle but appeared a shell of the man once dubbed ‘King Kieren’.

Desperately out of form, Perkins scraped into the Australian team for the longer distance at the selection trials, after failing to qualify for the 400m freestyle despite being the world record-holder.

His fortunes did not look like changing in Atlanta.

Crippled with self-doubt, Perkins was the slowest qualifier for the 1500m final in Atlanta, scraping in by a fingernail – just 0.24 of a second – with teammate Daniel Kowalski the overwhelming favourite to take the title.

History shows Perkins regrouped to dominate the Olympic final from the outside lane in a win that has gone down in Australia’s sporting folklore. He swam 14:56.40 – short of his then world record, 14:41.66. Banned Chinese swimmer Sun Yang is the record holder now, with the 14:31.02 he swam at the London Olympics in 2012.

“There are moments when I think, ‘Where did that come from?’. It is still hard to believe,” Perkins said.

“But there’s no doubt when the race is replayed it is goosebumps galore.”

Perkins said the lessons learned from Atlanta have helped him deal with the challenges he faced later in life and he said they have been more important than ever during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Silver medallist Daniel Kowalski and Olympic champion Kieren Perkins after the 1500m in Atlanta. Credit:Tim Clayton

“It’s important to remind myself what it was that I achieved from a psychology perspective (in Atlanta),” he said.

“With the stress we are all living in at the moment, being able to focus on the things that you can control and having a balance, staying rational and in control – it is all pretty important.

“That is what I think about when I look back at that (Atlanta).”

Perkins believes the pandemic shutdown provides the ideal situation for current swimmers to gain a similar perspective.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, the psychology and ability to get the best out of yourself are all the same,” Perkins said.

“It’s your ability to understand how you get that from yourself in times of stress. That is the hardest bit for some people to work through but it is in all of us.

“And the athletes, coaches and sports scientists are far more aware of psychology of performance these days than my generation.”

Perkins admits it will be tough for swimmers to find a way to stay fit as they try to prepare for the rescheduled Olympics, with pools currently shut due to virus restrictions.

Indeed the 46-year-old says he would have been tempted to retire if the same situation had happened before what became his final Olympics – the 2000 Sydney Games – where he was denied a record third-straight 1500m gold by an emerging Grant Hackett.

“It would have been a question mark definitely,” he said.

“You get to a point where your motivation is challenged because you have been doing it for a long time at the highest level.

“There is a limit to how much you are willing to sacrifice to give yourself that shot.

“But I am certainly incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to go to Sydney because it allowed me to finish up my career and answer all the questions I had about whether or not I could win three in a row.”

While the Atlanta win taught Perkins so much, he admitted he could not separate the 1996 victory from his maiden 1500m Olympic gold in Barcelona four years earlier in what was then a world record.

“It is a bit like asking which of your children you love most,” he laughed.

“They are both special for their own reasons. I probably look at Barcelona and say that is a better swim, whereas Atlanta was a much better test of character.”

AAP

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