Belgium's To Man Kei shares with us what she's been doing during the lockdown.
Lockdown Highs and Lows
Thursday, April 23, 2020
TEXT BY GEETHANJALI LAKSHMAYYA | ALAN SPINK
Here’s how some of your favourite Para badminton players are coping with lockdowns in different parts of the world.
Cheah Liek Hou (Malaysia) – Men’s singles Standing Upper (SU5)
Even though I can’t leave home, I’m in touch with my coach and I make sure I work out every day. I only need a small space and a yoga mat. I’ve also been watching badminton videos.
Sometimes I get bored but I fill the time by playing mobile games, surfing social media and watching movies. If we think positively, this isolation allows us to recover from a hectic tournament schedule and more time with family.
It’s hard to be motivated but don’t just do nothing at home. Exercise and sweat it out for at least 30 minutes every day by doing any activity you can.
Miles Krajewski (USA) – Men’s singles Short Stature (SH6)
I stay fit by running and biking. I also do sprints and footwork drills. I am staying mentally fit by doing homework since I still have online school until 21 May.
My tip to get motivated is eating healthy, then do whatever you can to stay active.
It gets tough because you become bored and you haven’t seen your friends in a while but it also means I get to spend more time with family. I try to stay in touch with many of my badminton friends through FaceTime, messages, or other ways.
To Man Kei (Belgium) – Women’s singles Wheelchair (WH1)
After 12 months of qualification tournaments, I was planning to rest. I also had a small surgery and was told not to move my shoulder too much. I’ve now rested longer than planned and need to get my body moving again.
My new physical coach set up a gym and injury prevention programme with tools I have at home. I’m also doing some basic badminton exercises like keeping the shuttle in the air or playing against the wall, to maintain the touch with my racket. I feel recharged, physically and mentally.
I was getting close to qualifying for Tokyo 2020 with good performances in the last few tournaments. With the postponement of the Paralympic Games to 2021, it’s a second chance at getting back into the race.
During the rest period, I was also planning to move house so I’ve been packing. Time is also spent watching some movies and badminton exercise videos, as well as looking for new badminton equipment online.
I’m not someone who needs to be with people daily. I do video chats with family and friends. But being passionate about badminton, I miss the court.
Daniel Bethell (England) – Men’s singles Standing Lower (SL3)
To stay mentally and physically fit, I keep active and give my days purpose, and have a routine that is as close as possible to the one at the national training centre. Sticking to my diet is also vital as the right nutrients help strengthen my immune system to prevent illness, as well as give me energy to complete my workouts.
It’s important to create a routine. Try new exercises and find ways to adapt to the limited space and equipment available like putting different things in a bag to use as weights. Utilise technology and create a group chat workout with friends and family. Working out with others will help motivate you and can make it a better experience.
A big positive of time away from the circuit is a break from travel which can be taxing physically and mentally, particularly being away from family and friends for so long.
I’ve also been in touch with a lot of old school friends I haven’t spoken to in a long time. This has been a big help mentally as we can share experiences and create a community feeling in this time of isolation.
I’m quite used to training on my own and I usually do some exercises to maintain my fitness, and try to get some sun in the mornings. Even though I don’t get to train with my teammates, we are connected via an app that allows the coach to prepare training programmes to do at home.
I don’t feel bored because I have a big family and it’s good to be able to spend time with them at home, play with my dog, do some online shopping. I also spend a lot of time studying for my degree in education. I’m not really a TV person but I do like reading and music.
I get up every day as usual and train as hard as I possibly can. I do a cardio session in the morning and a fitness session in the afternoon. I’ve made a programme because I have no contact with my coach, but I am in contact with Team France who help me to stay motivated.
If we do nothing, we lose strength and endurance. Giving yourself challenges each day help motivate you.
I live with my boyfriend so I’m not alone. I’m always in touch with friends via social network or Skype. I don’t have new hobbies but I’m cooking more. Still, there are no positives to being away from the circuit and badminton courts. I miss them.
Chan Ho Yuen Daniel (Hong Kong China) – Men’s singles Wheelchair (WH2)
I do two hours of physical exercise every day including weight training, hand bike and stationary bike. Keeping in touch with friends and family is very important to staying mentally strong because I have someone to talk with.
Managing my daily routine is hard. I tend to get fat easily if I don’t exercise. So, I look at myself in the mirror every day to see the before and after lockdown body. Then I know what needs to be done. If you care about your health and appearance, you’ll force yourself to start exercising.
I’m enjoying the break and spending most of the time with my family. Also, before the lockdown, I had no time for TV. Now I’ve started watching Korean dramas. I’m a man who cries easily when I watch emotional scenes.
Watching badminton videos keeps me busy too, especially of my matches against Kim Jungjun.