Asian Games silver medallist Fouaad Mirza is in Germany and feels the current crisis because of COVID-19 needs to be seen in a positive light. In his view, one has to follow all the rules for lockdown prescribed by the respective governments to come out stronger. In an exclusive chat with Mail Today, Fouaad shares his thoughts.
Your thoughts on the current situation?
The current situation is quite difficult, I suppose it is tough for all the people around the world. Fortunately, in my case, it is not so bad. I can say that as horses need to be trained where I live in Germany (Bergdorf – Ganderkesee, near Bremen). They need to be exercised and it also keeps me going. The equestrian industry in Germany has allowed a lot of activity.
Are you able to go to the vet and purchase food and supplements for the horses?
I am allowed to purchase equipment and the German government has acknowledged livestock needs to be taken care of. Food, supplements are not a problem, I am able to take good care of my horses.
What about the rules and regulations and horse training?
I am following all the government regulations, washing hands, social distancing and avoiding public contact. I wear gloves, though there is a shortage of masks here. I am fortunate to live on site. I live in an apartment 30 metres from the stable. I have ample chances for training, physical activity, riding a minimum five horses daily and working on them, all that is being done. Horses need great care. In addition, I also clean the stables.
Your own fitness?
I am doing a lot of exercises, stretching and yoga. Going to the gym is ruled out, though before COVID-19 I was doing it.
How is the situation in Germany?
We have managed to bring down the number of daily cases in Germany. With regard to other European nations, we are testing more here. The economy is slowly starting up as well. We have not seen a second wave here like the other countries, China and South Korea.
What are your thoughts on the lack of competitions and when do you think the situation will improve?
As regards competitions, all athletes in all sport, I think we are all in limbo and eager to start again. We just have to wait and see how best we can come up with ideas and how sport can be run again.
For most countries starting the economy is the top priority. Until August-September, one has to ensure safety in the health of all the people. Sport may take a back seat till then.
How do you see the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics?
The postponement of the Olympics is not ideal for all of us. Most athletes who have put in time and effort to be in good shape are hit. Now it is Covid-19 which has taken over and puts everything upside down. Fortunately for me, I see the positive side. This gives me 12 months more to train, establish and form a good relationship with my horses. The horse which I used during the Jakarta Asian Games (Seigneur Medicott) was injured last year. Now he gets 12 months more to get fit. I also think as many of our events got postponed, it is good the Olympics were postponed.
Your message to people on COVID-19?
My message to all is, this virus is deadly. It is very contagious and affecting many people. Please take it seriously. Although lockdown rules are tough to abide by, collectively if well all work we can come out of much sooner. Stay at home and follow your govt order and look after your loved ones. Being away from home, I am in touch with my family, my sponsors (Embassy Group), and Colonel (Rajesh) Pattu Sir.