Ramdhani siblings striving to stay fit amid COVID-19 restrictions

By Jemima Holmes

While many persons locally are taking the necessary precautions against contracting the deadly coronavirus, many of us tend to forget about our fellow Guyanese who are probably in more danger than ourselves.

The Ramdhani siblings

While the coronavirus has not had a massive breakout in Guyana, First World territories with much larger populations are facing the brunt of the pandemic, with thousands of persons being infected. In Guyana, many athletes still have the freedom to jog or to conduct personal training, with social distancing warnings in mind. However, in Canada there is a stark difference, with winter weather restricting even the simplest outdoor activity.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 21-year-old Narayan Ramdhani and 18-year-old Priyanna Ramdhani were at the close of a spectacular 2019-2020 college season, both finishing 4th in the Canadian College Badminton National Tournament. The next steps for the pair were the Olympic qualifiers, but the opportunity was weeded out as the Olympics and all of its qualifiers were postponed for 2021.

Narayan Ramdhani

With approximately 18,000 confirmed cases in Canada and roughly 1300 cases in Alberta alone, the siblings are taking every precaution necessary to stay healthy, but this would include staying away from the sport they love most.
With this in mind, Guyana Times Sport caught up with the racquet wielding siblings, Priyanna and Narayan Ramdhani, who shared their experiences on how they are coping with training and keeping fit, and offered advice for local players who may also be down and out.
GT Sport: How have COVID-19 restrictions hampered your everyday training?
Narayan: This is the longest I have been away from badminton, the most I can do is watch badminton. The virus also cancelled my Olympic qualifying tournaments in Cuba and Guatemala, but thankfully the Olympics isn’t happening until next year, so I still have time to qualify.

Priyanna Ramdhani

Priyanna: COVID-19 restrictions made a big impact on my training schedule. I usually train five times a week: three times a week on court and twice a week at the gym for strength training etc. In order to keep up this training schedule, I would have to be outside of my house to attend practice, which will have way more benefit for enhancing my Badminton skills.
GT Sport: What measures are you taking to keep fit and sharp in your game?
Narayan: In Alberta it’s still snowing, but I’m still running outside (staying away from people) and I’m working out; pushups, sits up and doing badminton movements as much as I can.
Priyanna: I have been trying my best to keep fit by doing some exercises daily at home, and sometimes I would go for a run around my neighbourhood when I get the opportunity to do so, because the weather in Canada is really cold, which makes it difficult for me to exercise outside every day.
GT Sport: As an athlete, how difficult is it to have to stay in for majority of your time?
Narayan: I’m actually pretty busy. I still have school, and because of the virus, everything is online. I have online classes twice a day, assignments and tests to do. But I’m still keeping active. I think I can cook a bit too.
Priyanna: As an athlete, I find it very difficult to have to stay home for majority of the time, because I am more of an outgoing person and I like to socialize with my teammates and friends at the Badminton arena and also at school, but our education system has been switched to online classes, and this affects me from seeing my friends and teammates face to face.
GT Sport: What advice would you give to local players in regard to staying fit and focused in the game of badminton?
Narayan: Keep active and watch badminton videos online. The guys back home have it better, they can play badminton in their yard or over their gate. If my sister and I go outside to play, we might be frozen after. But you can always do something to stay fit.
Priyanna: My advice to the local badminton players to stay fit and focused is to create a training schedule with exercises to follow on a day-to-day basis, and ensure to motivate yourself to follow that schedule to stay fit, because we are all in a rough position, and as athletes, when the dust settles and the world is back on its feet, there is no doubt that the Ramdhani siblings will go on to excel on and off the courts.