PHOTOS: How Kenyan sportsmen and women are coping with Covid-19
Makolanders Ladies FC midfielder Lucy Njeri trains indoors at her residence in Nairobi on March 31, 2020, following the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic which has resulted to sports leagues globally altering their schedules. [Photo: Stafford Ondego, Standard]

With numerous sporting events in the world and leagues either suspended or postponed and training facilities closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, professional athletes are finding it difficult to cope.

From footballers to volleyballers, hockey and rugby players in their makeshift gymnasiums at home, Kenyan athletes are struggling to deal with the disruption to their training regime.

But even with the uncertainty surrounding most of the seasons, the athletes have to maintain their fitness albeit under near-impossible conditions.

While most of them have resorted to makeshift home gymnasiums and rigorous regimes methods to keep fit, others have gone digital thanks to fitness and wellness applications like Manyactive app

According to Manyactive co-founder and fitness expert Evalyn Oloo, the introduction of online classes and live streams in the Kenyan market will help athletes to keep fit during the break.

“It’s definitely a difficult time for fitness enthusiasts and athletes to stay fit during this Covid-19 pandemic. However, we should all take this opportunity to better ourselves by tapping into our inner self-drive and motivation,” Oloo said.

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“There are many available resources to support sportsmen and women stay active safely in their spaces as they observe the social distancing rules. Due to the pandemic, Manyactive is offering free fitness classes online. So, let our athletes grab this opportunity and continue keeping fit from the comfort of their homes.”

We now take a look at some of the Kenyan athletes and how they are coping.

 

Name: Lucy Njeri

Age: 22 

Sport: Football

Club: Makolanders

Position: Midfielder

 

How are you coping? 

“Coronavirus has of course disrupted the rhythm of football and we are now forced to do things we are not used to. I’m also affected financially because with the league suspended , there is no way we can be paid match allowances.”

 

What are you doing to keep fit?

“With limited movement right now, there is nothing else I can do at home rather than working out in privacy.”

 

Name: Samuel Onyango

Age: 27

Sport: Football

Club: Gor Mahia

Position: Midfielder

 

How are you coping? 

“I’ve been confined in my house since the league and training sessions were suspended. This isolation can make you sick both physically and mentally. It is really draining.”

 

What are you doing to keep fit?

“I’ve just improvised my training activities. I normally go for morning runs then work with some jumps and stretch out before playing video games. But to be honest, working out without the ball is really boring.”

PHOTOS: How Kenyan sportsmen and women are coping with Covid-19
Gor Mahia FC forward Samuel Onyango trains indoors at his residence in Nairobi on April 01, 2020. [Photo [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

 

Name: Sharon Chepchumba

Age: 21

Sport: Volleyball

Club: KCB

Position: Left attacker

 

How are you coping with all the inconvenience?

“Of course the coronavirus outbreak has led to the postponement of major sporting events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games, but we have to accept everything, move on and continue working hard. However, I think this is a blessing in disguise because it will give us more time to improve on our game and perfect some skills.

 

What are you doing to keep fit?

“As a professional player, I don’t need to be supervised to maintain my fitness. With the little resources we have, we must try to be creative during these difficult times. Though space has been an issue, I’ve improvised the facilities I have in my house to help me keep fit. I am also privileged to have a friend from America. We follow each other on Instagram and train together sometimes via social media.”

PHOTOS: How Kenyan sportsmen and women are coping with Covid-19
Kenya national volleyballer Sharon Chumba trains indoors on March 25, 2020, following the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in sports leagues globally altering their schedules.  [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

 

Name: Gilly Okumu

Age: 25

Sport: Hockey

Club: Strathmore Scorpions/Eintracht Frankfurt-Germany

Position: Attacking midfielder

How are you coping with all the inconvenience?

“It is extremely boring because there are no activities going on at the moment. I can’t afford to train with my teammates and travel because everything has been postponed till further notice. The situation is unbearable.”

What are you doing to keep fit?

“Replicating the intensity of a match or a training ground session might be difficult right now, but that home workout can still make a difference. To maintain my fitness, I normally do a morning run every day and loading in the evening. Zumba and aerobics are now reserved for weekends.”

PHOTOS: How Kenyan sportsmen and women are coping with Covid-19
Eintracht Frankfurt, National team and Strathmore hockey team attacking midfielder Gilly Okumu trains on April 03, 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

 

Name: Daniel Taabu

Age: 24

Sport: Rugby

Club: Mwamba

Position: Winger

 

How are you coping with all the inconveniences? 

“This is tough moment not only for Kenyans but the whole world. It is really saddening for an athlete to train focusing on an event only for it to be cancelled or suspended. But we all need to unite and fight the virus because this is global problem.”

 

What are you doing to keep fit?

“The coach has given all of us training programmes to follow.”

PHOTOS: How Kenyan sportsmen and women are coping with Covid-19
Daniel Taabu of Kenya Shujaa takes a conversion against Zambia during their Tusker Safari Sevens 2019, match at RFUEA Grounds on October 19, 2019. Shujaa won 31-0. [Photo/Stafford Ondego, Standard]

 

Name: Mike Kibwage

Age: 22

Sport: Football

Club: KCB

Position: Defender

How are you coping? 

“I’m slowly adjusting to my new lifestyle of staying indoors. It’s a bit difficult and boring but I just have to deal with the situation. Right now our health is more important than football.”

 

What are you doing to keep fit?

“I train individually at home and sometimes watch replays of our past games. But this is the time to be creative and improvise your training. I must stay fit because nobody knows when the league will resume.”

PHOTOS: How Kenyan sportsmen and women are coping with Covid-19
KCB FC defender Mike Kibwage trains indoors. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

 

Name: Elizabeth Wanyama

Age: 30

Sport: Volleyball

Club: Kenya Prisons

Position: Libero

 

How are you coping with all the inconveniences? 

“It’s unfortunate that major sporting events in the world and leagues have been suspended owing to coronavirus outbreak. We were all looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games, but we now need to keep the faith and see what will happen next year.”

 

What are you doing to keep fit?

“I train daily in the morning and evening at home. I do intensity runs mostly in the morning and then do the light exercises in the evening.”

 

Name: Janet ‘Shabesh’ Okello.

Age: 27

Sport: Rugby

Club: Mwamba

Position: Scrumhalf

 

How are you coping with all the inconvenience?

“Nobody saw this global shut-down by coronavirus coming. It has disrupted most of the plans that we had this season. It is our hope and prayer that the virus will be contained as soon as possible. We all want to go back to our normal life. It is really boring and frustrating when you are prevented to do something you love.”

What are you doing to keep fit?

“With all the training facilities closed, we have been given tailored fitness programmes by the strength and conditioning coach that is helping us to keep our levels of physical condition.  I also do some daily morning runs around the estate.”

PHOTOS: How Kenyan sportsmen and women are coping with Covid-19
Janet Okello of Mwamba and Kenya Lionesses. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

 

Name: Abiud Chirchir

Age: 23

Sport: Volleyball

Club: Club Olympic de Kelibia-Tunisia

Position: Right-attacker

 

How are you coping with all the inconvenience?

“It is a difficult situation here in Tunisia. Both the league and training sessions have been suspended until further notice. Doing things you are not used to is not easy, but I’m trying.”

 What are you doing to keep fit?

“I have been forced to change my training schedule by keeping fit at home.”

PHOTOS: How Kenyan sportsmen and women are coping with Covid-19
 Abiud Chirchir  [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

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