“As I enter last leg of preparation for Tokyo Olympics, I am now going off social media till end of Olympics. I will need your love, blessings n support to bring glory to our country,” she posted.
The growing trend of athletes quitting the social media space ahead of a big-ticket sporting event isn’t new, but it has certainly gained momentum among the Indian athletes.
Wrestlers Deepak Punia and Vinesh Phogat and 10m air rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela are staying away from their twitter and Instagram handles, if not quitting them.
Deepak’s last twitter post was way back in February 2020 when he became the world junior wrestling champion, while Vinesh’s sports-specific post on the microblogging site was on April 18 this year where she posted a video of herself and fellow wrestler Anshu Malik’s victorious run at the Asian championships in Almaty.
As I enter the last leg of preparation for Tokyo Olympics, I am now going off social media till end of Olympics. I… https://t.co/5HiHFgSteY
— Manu Bhaker (@realmanubhaker) 1624961000000
Similarly, Apurvi switched off from twitter in December last to focus on her training and competitions ahead. She, along with 12 other Tokyo-bound air rifle and pistol shooters, has been camping in Zagreb, Croatia, since May.
Bajrang Punia had taken a break from twitter, Instagram and Facebook for nearly two months in March as he prepared for the Olympics. But he returned “to help India fight the Covid-19 crisis” when the second wave gripped the country. Of late, he has been posting his training pics from Russia’s Vladikavkaz city.
“It (decision) was tough but isn’t something I haven’t done before. In the pursuit of an Olympic gold, you make such small sacrifices. Nothing else matters. Social media can be a distraction,” Bajrang had then said.
Deepak, who will compete in the men’s freestyle 86kg category in Tokyo, said he was never a big fan of social media.
“I am not active on these platforms. I believe in hard work and putting in loads of hours in my training. My focus is winning a medal at the Olympics.”
Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu has restricted her social media presence to merely retweeting online contents hosted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and news articles published on her. She has been training in St. Louis in the US since May.
There’s another section of athletes whose social media activities are managed by their sports management firms.
These firms post online content on behalf of their sponsored athletes while the sportspersons concerned focus on their Olympics training. Some of them include boxers Amit Panghal and Pooja Rani Bohra and javelin-thrower Neeraj Chopra.