Despite the mental challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Pan American Games gold medalist Chantel Malone remains on track with her goal of winning gold in the long jump event at the Olympic Games which has been rescheduled to 2021.
In a recent interview with BVI News, Malone said the postponement of the Olympic Games, which were originally scheduled for July 2020, has not deterred her from her athletic goals but instead has created a few new challenges which she is adjusting to.
“At one point we didn’t have any facilities to train on due to the stay-at-home order so we did a lot more workouts on the hill and grass fields. We didn’t have the gym to lift so we implemented other body exercises to keep the strength levels up,” the local athlete said.
“It’s all about assessing and adjusting really. We still have struggles … We basically jump a fence every day to practice,” she added.
Mentally affected by pandemic
Malone also said that in addition to the physical challenges faced due to COVID, the pandemic has also affected her mentally with its unpredictable nature.
“I have been struggling with the anxiety of it all but when it’s becoming too much, I turn to music, writing and talking to close friends and family. That usually centres me. When you have questions arise about the stability of your future, what will happen, the financial struggles that the pandemic caused. I mean it’s a lot and the unknown of everything can be very overbearing,” she explained.
She further said: “A lot of people don’t think about the mental side of sports but honestly that has been something that’s really been tested during this pandemic. Training; we get to do that to the best of what we’re offered but the mental part of it that’s internal.”
Advice to the younger athletes – You’re not alone
Malone, who is currently ranked third in the region and 24th in the world, left a message for the local younger athletes who may be experiencing similar feelings and frustrations due to COVID.
“They are not alone. I’m probably considered a veteran in the sport and I’m dealing with the same anxiety about what’s to come. My advice would be to keep your goals close by. Your goals should never falter. You may have to take a different road to get there but ultimately the mission should still be to accomplish that goal.”
“Despite all the odds thrown your way! You can do it! I believe in you. I’ll also advise them to reach out to someone or even one of the older athletes to share their concerns and worries, or even if it’s simply to ask for advice on life or different things that can help them get to where they want to go,” she added.
Malone continues to work with the younger athletes through the BVI Athletics Association’s board as she aims to bridge the gap between the needs and visions of athletes, by assisting with ideas that will help to achieve this goal.
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