Online Karate training futile & fruitless: Dhiman

Deepika Dhiman, an ace karate player, speaks to The Daily Guardian about the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deepika Dhiman.
Deepika Dhiman.

For Deepika Dhiman, Karate was always a passion, nonetheless, her persistent hard work and perseverance helped her make it a profession. Dhiman, whose present world ranking is 127, is a National Champion and is currently aiming to qualify for Tokyo Olympic and 2022 AsianGames respectively.

Dhiman, who is working in the Income Tax Department of the Government of India, is a Black Belt 3rd, Dan from Japan, WKF, and Canada and is an NF Rajiv Gandhi State Sports Awardee. In an exclusive conversation with The Daily Guardian, she sheds some light on very important issues that prevail amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“First of all, we don’t have proper infrastructure, Coaching, and training facility for Karate games. And without these basic things how can we expect medals from Karate players at Asian or International level. We talk much about self-reliance but it’s a surprising fact that there is not a single Karate Dress Manufacturer in India,” Dhiman pointed out.

“We don’t have a regular or a permanent National Coach. There is provision for regular training camp to nurture the talent at local, state, or national level. Even there is merely any permanent physio or a doctor provided during the training camp,” she added.

 Dhiman feels that without a proper physio, players are at a high risk of ruining their careers from injuries. She also pointed out that there is not enough encouragement that a player receives, and neither do the players receive well deserved public acclaim.

“Our Karate players never get enough promotion and if we compare media attention with other sports like Cricket, Hockey or Football, it is nothing,” she said.

 However, she praised the government for their recent efforts. “Delhi Government initiated a very good policy Mission Excellence for talented National/International Delhi players. With the help of this Mission Excellence scheme, I also got a handsome amount to manage and maintain my huge expenses to play abroad,”

 However, leaving merely any stone unturned, the pandemic is showering a cascading spate of hindrances at the athletes and the game as a whole. “But due to this Corona Pandemic, this scheme could not get reviewed by Delhi Government to date,” she said.

“Also, there is no proper online training going on officially in India although it’s a regular feature in the foreign countries,” she added.

 “One of the Karate players, Mr. Amripaul was seriously injured during the Lockdown, but no federation or Government came forward to help her. Amid those circumstances, Karate players collectively raise the funds through social media and come forward to help. Even Bollywood Actor Sonu Sood offered to help and all the expenses of her treatment were managed successfully,” said Dhiman.

Speaking about the less efficiency of the process of online training, Dhiman said: “Karate is a close contact sport and without the opponent, the training is utterly worthless and futile. Connecting and hitting/ punching are the common features to nurture the skill and improve one’s performance, and it is crystal clear a fact that online training won’t help much.”

However, Dhiman understands the importance of following the health guidelines amid the pandemic, but she does not let the outbreak hinder her will. “During these trying circumstances, keeping social distancing is must,” she says, “but I have already set my goal to make myself qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic and World Karate Championship for which I’m doing a lot of hard work independently.”

“This is a really good time for players especially for those who are injured because they have sufficient time to undergo the recovery process. Moreover, they can prepare to do something outstanding in their respective sports fields. This is a positive sign for all players to take proper mental and physical rest. In that sense, this pandemic is a blessing in disguise for athletes.”

 The writer is the bureau chief of Himalini Magazine. He has also written two books on media education and is the founder of Creatives Media World Academy.