TABLE tennis, golf, badminton and other non-contact sports are among those activities now allowed under the general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine.
But, like other sports undertakings, table tennis also faced tough challenges during the quarantine period due to Covid-19 pandemic.
For Lopue’s Table Tennis Association (LOPTTA) Coach Marell Lagunday-Alvarez, the effect is quite huge since her team were preparing for the Regional and National meets before this pandemic happened. The same sentiment aired by another tablenet coach C/Insp. Paul Jerome Puentespina lamenting that the pandemic has greatly affected the psychological and mental side of table tennis athletes.
“However, it seemed OK for them because they were trained to handle difficult situation like this - the Covid-19 pandemic, where they value life over for a particular milestone. In addition, all athletes across the globe had experienced loss of fitness, and decrease athletic performance due to quarantine period/lockdown,” he said.
Lagunday-Alvarez also stressed that some of her players were devastated that they could no longer compete in the nationals. “I also felt saddened because lots of tournaments were canceled,” she added.
When asked, how they adjusted to keep their players remained active and in top shape even without any game or summer training during the quarantine period, Lagunday-Alvarez said that their players do their work out at home like shadowing and more on footwork exercises. “Those fortunate players who have tables and robo pong at home continue their routine exercises, but they always tell their parents that it’s better to have their coaches for corrections,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Puentespina said that, “nowadays, with the aid of the social media platforms, coaches had been aware on the current trends and methods of training used by other countries where best practices have been noted and adopted to improve one’s athletic performance. Information like this at hand, coaches were able to reach out with our players, specifically the Negros Table Tennis high school boys’ and girls’ team, and implement the stay home activities like performing high intensity interval training. Players with pingpong tables were able to do table tennis drills and multi-balls, and for those who do not have pingpong tables they do shadow play and ball control with the use of their table tennis racket and walls of their home,” he stressed.
With the conduct of this kind of sports finally gets its nod under general quarantine and modified quarantine, Lagunday-Alvarez said that for now, LOPTTA is still closed since most of her players are under age. “But there’s already a go signal from our beloved President Dr. Leonito “Diotay” Lopue provided that only 8 persons can play and strictly follow the social distancing. However, parents won’t allow their children to go out until this virus has a vaccine,” she said.
Puentespina, meanwhile, hopes that the current leaders could come up with clear guidelines on how to carry out sports activities that would respond to the needs of our athletes. “For now our athletes under our care are affected by the age restriction policy, and they still observe stay home activities which delimit their athletic performance.”
For now, the LOPTTA mentor kept her players and pingpong enthusiasts heads high. “We are going through this crisis. We are stretched like a rubber band with this pandemic. Just keep the faith because our God is greater than any circumstances,” she said.
“In this time of pandemic, God works in mysterious way. Be reminded that God’s miracles begin within ourselves. The sufferings that we see are mere reflection of undisciplined actions and disobedience to His words. Let us listen to what God is telling us, let us change our ways for God’s mercy and compassion will come forth and will save us from this trying times. Let God’s will be done as a bible verse says: PS 98:1, 7-8,9 ‘All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God,’” said Puentespina.