Vapors, oximeters, masks: COVID-19 precautions on the minds of Indian shooters
When Suma Shirur went through a checklist, as she was packing for the Indian Rifle Team’s trip to Croatia, a question came to her mind.
“How many masks are being carried on a three-month trip during the pandemic?”
“The last training camp lasted 30 days, so I wore 30 masks. It was a bit too much, ”the head coach of the junior rifle team told The Indian Express before the start.
“This time, what I did was get rid of the old fancy masks and take some of the latest N99s. It’s well adjusted and multi-layered, but I might not have taken enough. I will probably have to buy some later.
The 15 shooters, coaches and support staff boarded a charter plane to Zagreb on Tuesday. From the Croatian capital, they will head straight to the Tokyo Olympics in July.
Traveling during the pandemic has required everyone to compile a list of “travel essentials” related to Covid-19.
Masks, immunity boosting vitamins, Ayurvedic home remedies like kaadha, turmeric to mix with milk, supplements, disinfectants, vapors and oximeters are must-have items, as are guns and shooting equipment.
This three-month stay is the longest most of them have been away from home on a tour. Everyone takes extra precautions.
“I carry spices to make Ayurvedic kaadha. Just boil it and drink it, ”female pistol shooter Rahi Sarnobat said recently at a press conference hosted by the ISC. “I also have Ayurvedic tea bags, haldi for water or haldi milk.”
For Saurabh Chaudhary, a 10m air pistol sensation, the transport of Ayurvedic medicines has become a requirement.
“He has taken traditional syrups and powders to increase immunity since he just recovered from Covid,” says his trainer Amit Sheoran.
Shirur also carried her share of Ayurvedic tablets, not just for herself, but for the entire team.
“They’re primarily for coughs and flu-like symptoms. Personally, I never needed them, but I always wore them (even before the pandemic) because, you know, they’re kids.
Vitamin tablets and similar supplements were packed by Sarnobat, Mairaj Khan (men’s skeet) and Deepak Dubey, trainer of the men’s 10m air rifle Divyansh Singh Panwar.
Each gunman had at least one disinfectant in their carry-on baggage on the charter flight Tuesday. Thermometers, oximeters, and steamers took up more space in their luggage.
“I also carry a steamboat. I’ve never worn any of these things with me before, ”added Sarnobat.
Shirur chose not to travel with a steamboat. “I did not take it because I know that the physiotherapists take several.”
As important as a score of 10.9 is when shooting, 36.5 to 37.5 degrees Celsius on the thermometer and a low of 96 on the oximeter are now key numbers.
Coincidentally, the trigger finger is the same one used to check oxygen levels.
The shooters are to undergo a seven-day quarantine in Zagreb.
“That would mean we had to equip ourselves with enough gear to make sure there isn’t monotony,” says Shirur.
Sarnobat, a voracious reader, carried six paperbacks and downloaded e-books to last three months.
“I already have 30 kg more luggage,” she says.
Shirur has carried a “beautiful thick book”, while high performance trainer Deepali Deshpande wants to finish a Khaled Hosseini novel she had started reading. Jeffrey Archer is on the playlist of female 50m 3 position shooter Anjum Moudgil. The works of Paulo Coelho and the thrillers of Lee Child are the choice of Elavenil Valarivan (10m air rifle for women).
Panwar carried the Bhagavad Gita and his compatriot in the 10m air rifle Deepak Kumar will read the Vedas.
Meanwhile, Manu Bhaker, a real star of the women’s 10m air pistol event, wants to find time to study. She got her BA in political science exams in a few weeks. Bhaker took “light fitness equipment” for his in-room workouts.
Moudgil, an avid painter, plans to paint on masks. Deshpande packed acrylic paints and put an 18 X 13 inch canvas in his suitcase.
The game of cards and chess is on the agenda of some coaches.
Being abroad and not being locked up or under curfew means it is possible to explore the outdoors.
Once the quarantine is over, Shirur will take a running route. “I wore my racing gear. I haven’t run since before the pandemic. “
Meanwhile, Rajput and Panwar plan to stream shows on Netflix. The latter downloaded the entire Mahabharat series on his laptop.
Although they are far from home, comfort food will be a go-to option for most.
Kumar has carried Indian ready-to-eat dishes, and just like Chaudhary, he also has laddoos. Valarivan has his stock of pickles, and Shirur has taken over a kilogram (instead of the usual 300 grams) of dates and four packets of khakhara. The coach also carried a mini coffee machine.
Deshpande doesn’t snack on instant meals, but this time she took a family pack of Maggi noodles with her for the first time in 22 years.
Elsewhere in Italy, where the two skeet shooters will camp, Khan took with him around four kilograms of basmati rice, spices and dals.
The shooters also had to pack their bags with the weather in mind. Lightweight sweaters for warmer days and heavier woolens for the evenings are basic essentials.
“I collected all the ‘India’ T-shirts and packed them. About 30 of them, ”Shirur said, before adding,“ and I just realized I should wash them all as well. “
She also has several full-size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and facial cleanser this time around. “I used to put them in small travel bags that lasted a few days,” says Shirur.
If a good start is only half done, packing wisely is a good start for Olympic shooters.
(with contributions from Mihir Vasavda)