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Posted at: Mar 9, 2018, 2:02 AM; last updated: Mar 9, 2018, 2:02 AM (IST)

Weightlifters go offline ahead of CWG

Weightlifters go offline ahead of CWG
Mirabai uses a basic phone good only for calls or texts. File

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 8

The moment practice was over in the weightlifting hall, Sathish Sivalingam was out fiddling with his smartphone, taking photos. He had the young Jeremy Lalrinnunga modelling for him. “Show me the abs,” Sivalingam said. “OK, now turn!”

“We will crop this clip and then put it on Instagram,” Sivalingam told the junior lifter.

Sivalingam and Vikas Thakur are perhaps the exceptions to the rule as the Indian weightlifting team has decided to reduce the use of smartphones and time spent on social media.

Young lifter Deepak Lather has deleted his Facebook and Instagram accounts and has not switched on his phone since December 31, 2017. World champion S Mirabai Chanu too has gone silent online and uses a cheap basic phone, good only for calls and text messages.

Chief coach Vijay Sharma has been insistent that the lifters put away their smartphones as they cause an unnecessary disruption in their resting time. The use of phones during practice is barred in any case, and those fiddling with their phones risk punishments.

“We encourage them to stay away from smartphones as using them cuts into the rest time of our lifters,” Sharma told The Tribune. “I can’t stop them from using those phones as they are all adults but luckily for us, most of our campers happily agreed to shun them.”

“Only Sathish and Thakur are still interested in them, and once I saw Sathish online around midnight! But that’s OK, he likes being online,” Sharma said with a smile.

Lather said staying offline and disconnected wasn’t that hard. “I haven’t spoken with my dad since December 31. I just switched it off like that. I didn’t talk to anyone in the family on Holi too. They know I am training hard,” he said.

“I have also deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts. These are unnecessary hindrance,” the 17-year-old said.

Not first time

Mirabai, though, has a habit of going slow with tech whenever an important championship is near. She did the same ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“With such phones, one keeps on checking the messages and notifications. Someone from your family calls you on WhatsApp, and if you don’t respond, it becomes a problem,” she said.

“This way (switching off) it is better,” she added. “Constant checking phone notifications becomes a habit and then you end up losing out on rest time. So that’s why I am away from Facebook and Instagram.”

Sivalingam, though, had no qualms about accepting his love for Instagram. “I love being online. Checking notifications is my thing. But I am never online around midnight,” he said with a sheepish smile. “It is not a distraction for me,” he added.


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