Unfortunately, the situation with the spread of coronavirus in Belarus is not improving. As well as everywhere in the world, the tournament activity in the country has been suspended until better times. Of course, athletes are eager for battle, waiting for the renewal of competitions, but they do not waste the time. Belarus team players continue two-time training in the training center, where access by strangers is strictly limited. These days players do not leave the center between morning and evening workouts, but they rest and eat in the venue (meals are organized) and go home only in the evening.
Belarus Table Tennis Federation press-officer talked with athletes and asked them some questions.
1. How you feel about cancellation of competitions (TOKYO 2020 in particular, or the ITTF Challenge Plus, Belarus Open)?
Daria TRIGOLOS: Nowadays suspension of the events is the necessary measures, so you need to take the current situation and use the time effectively, work on yourself. New dates for the Olympic Games is possible for the better. This year it would be very difficult to qualify, and there is another year to increase the level of the game and score rating points. Belarus Open is always a solemn tournament for us and a big event where we want to show our best game in the home arena. Therefore, I hope that Belarus Open will nevertheless be held this year.
Nadezhda BOGDANOVA: I am even glad somehow. There is more time to prepare and there are more chances to qualify for the Games.
Aleksandr KHANIN: it’s hard time right now, therefore, in the situation that has prevailed, I consider the suspension of competitions as the right decision. Sports are sports, and health is more important. If the competitions were held as on schedule, the athletes could not have come up to them in good shape.
Pavel PLATONOV: I take calmly the fact that the Olympics, Belarus Open and other competitions are postponed. Everyone needs to take these necessary measures. I think that this is the only right decision in this situation for the health of spectators, athletes, coaches and everyone involved in the competitions.
2. What are the positive moments for you in the current situation and what are the negative ones?
Daria TRIGOLOS: the positive point is that we have a long training period. This is a great opportunity to improve the weaknesses of your game and improve your strengths. Besides, much more attention can be paid to general physical fitness, which is also very important. The negative point is that we will have no competitive practice for a long time. But this is not a big problem. When the competition resumes, we will quickly get involved.
Nadezhda BOGDANOVA: the advantage is that there is an opportunity to improve your physical abilities and game quality, thanks to training and general physical education classes. And as the negative point, it is very exhausting.
Aleksandr KHANIN: the biggest disadvantage is the lack of competitive practice of course, viz. cancellation of all tournaments and club matches. But, of course, there are many pluses. Now you can focus on the training process, as during the season there is too little time for it. In addition, usually I spend a lot of time abroad, and now I can stay in my hometown, with my family, with my mother and friends.
Pavel PLATONOV: For myself, I see positive aspects in the fact that now we will have more time for the training process, it will be possible to devote more time to physical training, as well as to better work out the technical elements in table tennis, make and try out some adjustments. The negative point is the lack of competitions for a long period of time, I mean the lack of game practice, but I think it is compensated after.
3. How are you preparing now, what has changed in the training system?
Daria TRIGOLOS: We train a lot, at not only the tables, but also pay great attention to physical training now. After morning practice at the tables, we do in the gym, after evening session there is physical training, as well as cross training, if the weather allows. We also take time for proper recovery, go for a massage, do psychological training.
Nadezhda BOGDANOVA: Now, we have increased the amount of physical fitness; we do this almost every day. In addition, slightly reduced training directly at the tables.
Aleksandr KHANIN: we are now focusing more on physical fitness. This is the physical fitness and training in the gym, plus cross running on the street. Tennis has become a little less. I believe that at a time like this (long time without competitions) table tennis is not so important, physical fitness is more important to get fit by the beginning of next season.
Pavel PLATONOV: I do not have a big difference in the training system now; I do a little more physical training.
Vladimir Samsonov is in Montenegro with his family. There is more strict quarantine and you cannot leave the house without the need. “ I think this measure can be understood. We all should pay even more attention to the non-proliferation of the virus and, naturally, take care of our families and follow the advice of doctors. Now I do not have the opportunity to train outside the home. So I’m mainly engaged in physical training”.
Despite the suspension of the Olympic Games to the summer of 2021, Samsonov expects to conquer the seventh Games in his career. And despite the fact that time does not work for him, emphasizes: “ I’m already interested not just to plunge into the Olympic atmosphere; I don’t want to be a tourist at the Olympics. If I get there, I simply must do everything in order to fight for the medal”.
Vladimir did not remain indifferent during the period of the threat of the coronavirus epidemic in Belarus. Samsonov transferred 10 thousand euros to the charity account of the medical response organization center.