Cape Town - South Africa-based karateka Sydney Veremu says COVID-19 has messed with his conditioning as the sport does not go well with solo training.
Fourth dan black belt Veremu is one of the region’s foremost practitioners of Kyokushin.
Most governments banned contact sports five months ago as the new coronavirus pandemic started sweeping across Africa, and even now as restrictions are eased, coded such as the martial arts still find themselves essentially frozen.
Many international tourneys have been cancelled, and Veremu particularly laments the missed championships in Japan.
Veremu told The Southern Times Sportthat while he was physically fit, he was not suitably conditioned to compete at international standards.
“Due to the social distancing among other COVID-19 regulatory issues, I had to adjust and start training alone but it is very difficult. It is never the same as when you train at the dojo with your colleagues. Training alone is not the best thing to do,” said Veremu.
“If I am to be scheduled for a match now, well it will be a bit difficult for me to fight. I am still fit and strong but my body lacks conditioning as we cannot spar at the moment. This sport is a contact sport and when training alone, your body loses its conditioning and that makes you a bit soft and you feel every pain.”
He said when the Japan tournament was cancelled in June and gym activities were suspended, he was disappointed but he continued training in solitude.
“I was really looking forward to the Japan tournament. COVID-19 has taught me that if things gets difficult you have to stay positive and never give up. I have been taught to always remain positive and keep fighting.”
While some people struggle to maintain discipline as regards eating habits whilst training alone, Veremu said: “Even if I train from home, I am not tempted to eat outside my strict diet, I have a strict diet and I always stick to it no matter the variables.”