A ‘new norm playing field’ for Malaysian athletes

When this war against Covid-19 is won, it may not even be a total victory, the world as we know it, will have little choice but to embrace “new norms” and people must change their lifestyle completely.

The anticipated devastation of this virus will be huge and felt in all corners of the world.

Besides affecting the lifestyle of the world’s population, it will also have a huge impact on economies, businesses, employment, poverty. and the list goes on.

Sports and entertainment, nowadays a major part of our lifestyle, is one area which is going to be hit severely.

Will there be huge crowds at sports or entertainment events like in the recent past?

In Malaysia, the strong possibility that mass gatherings at events will not be allowed for at least another six months is going to have a negative impact on sports.

With all activities, including sports, suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO) in place, all major sporting events came to a shuddering halt.

When will things be back to normal? That’s anybody’s guess.

When things are back to normal, the M-League, for example, is definitely not going to be the same again.

Are matches going to be played in empty stadiums or with only a limited number of fans for each match? Stadiums’ capacities to be halved or reduced to one-third?

Social distancing enforced at stadiums where fans must sit one metre away from each other and other demarcations at stadiums?

New rules governing the use of sports equipment where athletes must wear masks or gloves? No handshakes or hugging? No celebration after scoring a goal or a victory?

Even in sports like badminton and sepak takraw, where a net separates the opposing players, contact between players will be minimised.

What about swimming? Is it safe to jump into a pool with other swimmers in it?

Sanitisers placed around stadiums? Stadiums to be sanitised before and after every match?

What about sports in schools? Is physical education going to be a classroom session? No more field activities?

How is all this going to affect the health of the younger generation?

All this is happening while we have been actively promoting a healthy lifestyle to the young and older generation which in turn helps keep our health bills lower.

What will happen to the numerous weekend fun-runs which have become a norm in Malaysia?

What about fitness centres and sports gymnasiums? Will social distancing be the new normal? Will members and athletes feel safe?

In Australia where sport is a part of their culture, Aussies are still allowed to engage in physical exercises (either alone or in the company of no more than one other person).

But Malaysians, regrettably, are not as disciplined as Australians.

Just look at the number of cars on the roads or the number of people at markets and shopping centres despite the MCO being in place.

As more and more people clamour for flexibility during the MCO, they had better be prepared for life being totally different when the MCO is relaxed or lifted.

They must get used to the “New Norms” which could well last a few years.

Probably and sadly, many will turn to eSports as an alternative, although it is regarded as a “non-sport” that turns people into “couch potatoes”.

Sportsmen and sportswomen had better get ready for Distancing Control Order.

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