Abalayan: Battle of the mind

Time Out

HIGH performance athletes, no matter how seasoned they are in their respective sports, also suffer from anxiety and stress just like anybody else affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Rio Olympics 2016 weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, now stranded for five months now in Selangor, Malaysia with her training team, said her sessions with psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad have been helping her.

"Anytime po pag di ako okay message ko lang po sya," Diaz told me in a Facebook chat interview.

She was at first disappointed that the Ibero-American Open slated in Colombia, a qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics, did not push through as scheduled due to the pandemic. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics was also postponed to July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) website posted the organizers' announcement: "Because of global spread of the coronavirus and travel restrictions implemented by many countries around the world, the Columbian Weightlifting Federation has decided to postpone the South American, Ibero-American and Open Senior Championships."

The new schedule, however, has not yet been disclosed.

The Ibero-American is the sixth and final Olympic qualification tournament for her, which would have given her a higher chance of earning a slot in the Tokyo quadrennial meet.

I remember Dr. Karen Trinidad, during her Sports Psychology talk in Tagum City while the Batang Pinoy 2016 National Championships was being held in Tagum City, saying that performance is the sum or the result of physical preparation, technical skill, and psychological readiness of an athlete.

"Sports is more than a contest of physical ability," the St. Luke's Medical Center psychologist said. She said that studies show within a group of athletes with equal ability, those who receive mental training outperform those who don't almost every time.

For any athlete, competition starts even before the tournament proper. Anxiety is the first battle every athlete must overcome. This is also true in real life. It all starts with the mind. What we feed our minds would influence our feelings and actions.

"We feel the way we do largely because of what we have been thinking, Emotions are far more a product of thoughts than producers of thoughts -- they are real but not the ultimate reality. Our feelings are not created by what happens to us, but by what happens in us - by the way we choose to think about whatever may have happened!," said Sam Laing (Free Your Mind), one of my favorite Christian authors.


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