CHENNAI: Away from the hustle-bustle of the city, Manu Bhaker is quietly going about her business in Charkhi Dadri in Haryana. The coronavirus outbreak has hampered the training of many athletes, but not that of the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist pistol shooter. Though the tone of her voice betrayed disappointment because of the postponement of Olympics to next year, Manu is keen to make use of the time at home and take one step at a time. The pandemic has also forced the federation to cancel everything including trials, camps and competitions. But with an indoor shooting range at home, the 18-year-old’s training routine continues unaffected.
“I haven’t taken a break,” said Manu. “I’m able to practise with an in-house shooting range. It’s manual. So I can’t do it for a long time. But for a short period, it’s good. Training goes on, no matter what. That said, it’s a crucial time. Taking care of health is of utmost importance.” Leisure time is not really a word found in Manu’s dictionary, as she sticks to a simple yet strict routine. Her day starts at 6am with yoga, something she has recently started to control her mind. Following that, she trains close to six hours a day.
“I don’t think I have been affected much.
I used to train all day before the lockdown also. My schedule starts with yoga, focussing on meditation and breathing. Then, I spend one hour in the sun for vitamin D. I train from 9.30am to 2.30 pm. When we were in the camp, the schedule was the same,” said the first-year student of Delhi’s Lady Shriram College, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science. As far as fitness goes, Manu does core workouts, skipping and “a nice evening walk with the family on the terrace”. For a shooter, who has made rapid strides in her professional career, family-time is something that tops her priority list while she is in Charkhi Dadri.
“Everybody is posting the kind of physical activities they can do from home. Skipping is the easiest. I also do workouts concentrating on strength training. Running is not possible, so we go for a walk on the terrace,” she elaborates. Being a vegetarian who doesn’t even take eggs, Manu consumes roti, daal, sabzi with a good amount of paneer on a regular basis. “Good thing is I’m home with my mother and she cooks really good.”