If we can’t train on the field, let’s get together online, says Ultra coach

Vygieskraal-based Ultra Athletics Club is trying to find creative and innovative ways to keep their athletes in shape, following last week’s announcement by Athletics South Africa to suspend all events with immediate effect, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Despite the lockdown, the governing body also advises athletes to keep preparing themselves in case competitions resume at a later stage.

But when Ultra coach Waleed Donough and a few of his athletes who had qualified for the national championship gathered at Vygieskraal last week for a quick session, they were told the venue was off limits for now.

He said the problem with regards to the closing of the city’s sporting facilities, is that it puts them in a catch 22 situation where they had to find innovative ways of getting their athletes to prepare themselves.

Instead of sulking in a corner, Donough, an IT specialist, was quick to direct his athletes to the club’s online portal which allows his them to access a training programme from home.

He said that while respecting social distancing, the club had to resort to finding other ways of keeping their athletes in shape.

“We have to take such measures into account in light of the Covid-19 virus pandemic that is currently affecting everybody globally,” he said.

“So, what we have done, with the president’s announcement, we took the bulk of our squad and put them into a winter break or an early break to curb them joining together, hugging and doing all the high fives,” he said.

Donough also noted that because the club has seven athletes who qualified for the national championships, in different categories, they need to keep them active in some way.

“We are not sure if the nationals will take place or not but are still taking directions from the Athletics governing body (ASA).

“So, a couple of things that we’ve put into place include live videos.

“We have our portal that we’ve designed a couple of years ago where the athletes can go into the portal and look at instructional videos and also look at the programme that we have for the week,” he said.

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