Nigeria’s number one ranked badminton player, Anu Opeyori on Wednesday said that the long break away from sporting activities occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic had been a tough one for him.
Opeyori, who has now returned to training at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
NAN reports that the Federal Government had announced the re-opening of non-contact sporting activities after several months ban, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the same vein, the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) announced the re-opening of the stadium for non-contact sports as approved by the Federal Government.
The five listed non-contact sports approved by LSSC to train are Racket Sports such as Badminton, Table Tennis, Tennis as well as Track and Field event.
Other athletes have also commenced training at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere and the Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba strictly in line with COVID-19 protocol for sporting activities.
Opeyori, one of the early callers training at the Molade Okoya Indoor Sports Hall declared that the period of COVID-19 lockdown had been a tough time for him and his colleagues due to non-sporting activity.
“I am excited to be back now to train. Honestly, the COVID-19 lockdown has been very tough. To stay outside the sporting activities without trainings for such a long time was not easy.
“It is very hard for us to live our normal lives outside of sports, because it is hard to keep our shape and fitness without training.
“Its good to be back to our normal lives, because it shows that we are the survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic by the grace of God,” he said.
Oyeyori thanked the Lagos State Government for the prompt re-opening of the Teslim Balogun Stadium for use, adding that the sports commission had been gracious during the lockdown.
“I thank the Lagos State Government and LSSC for opening the stadium on time to resume training because we have a lot ahead of us.
“We have to prepare for the qualifications for the Olympic games and other competitions suspended before the lockdown because sports all over the world is resuming.
“I am also grateful to the LSSC for coming to our assistance during the lockdown by giving us stipends. It is a good thing because we did not work for it,” he said.
Also, the Director-General of LSSC, Oluwatoyin Gafaar said that Lagos State, being the sporting hub in Nigeria, was fully prepared and ever ready for the sporting events.
“The announcement by the Federal Government that sporting events for non contact should commence did not catch us unawares.
“We, at the Lagos State Sports Commission, like soldiers are ready,” he said.
NAN reports that Opeyori is training under the supervision of the Head Coach, Lagos State Badminton Association, Maria Omonehin.