Life in lock-down: Reshad Saraj

Published April 28, 2020

Hello again… As we approach (or surpass depending when this is published) a full month since the UK went into lock-down – March 22nd if anybody was curious. I want to take this time to congratulate everyone on this somewhat morbid anniversary. Look at it on the bright side, another 59 months to go (5 years) until the whole of the UK gets a piece of wood according to anniversary etiquette and traditions – I might do a whole blog on this subject, but until we reach this momentous occasion, I thought we’d mark the one month mark with something equally amazing, or arguably ten times better than a piece of wood. That is, of course, a guest blog written by PACE’s most decorated athlete – Reshad Saraj.

Reshad joined PACE in the early 2010s, after being told on numerous occasions he had no future in sport due to his disability. So Reshad set out to defy the nay-sayers and was determined to forge a path for himself in sport. That sport was to be Boccia. As soon as Reshad picked up a Boccia ball he knew he had found his calling. If I were to list all of Reshad’s achievements we would be here forever and I’ve already have taken far too much of your time. So I’ll just name a few:

  • BE Cup BC2 winner
  • Poznan (Poland) Gold Medallist
  • England International player
  • 2017 National League Champion

All very impressive, I think you can agree. With the sporting world grinding to a halt due to the pandemic and the importance of social distancing, the Boccia season has been postponed until July resulting in many of the competitions Reshad was competing in up and to that point regrettably having to be canceled. And perhaps the most high-profile sporting event affected, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (now 2021) being delayed to next year – which is one of Reshad’s biggest sporting aspirations, to represent and compete for his country. It is fantastic then to get an opportunity to peek behind the curtain, gain a brief glimpse and insight into how a high-performing athlete such as Reshad is adjusting to life in lock-down. A big thank you to Reshad for this interesting insight.

Well, my plan for 2020 was to improve myself especially my mindset and to move on from a bad experience with my previous PA, to start the year afresh, more training, and attending national and international competitions.

As is sometimes the case, when you have a plan and your life looks like it might be going more smoothly, fate takes a hand and puts a challenge or obstacles in front of you.

The trick is to face these challenges and overcome them and it is up to us how we rise to these challenges.

The Coronavirus; Covid 19 is perhaps one of the greatest challenges any of us will face and I wanted just to write a few sentences on how I am trying to meet these challenges.

I have adopted different strategies to remain positive, I do not watch or listen to the news coming out of the various social media platforms preferring to bring myself up-to-date by watching the news only once a day, in this way I don’t let myself be distracted and disheartened by any bad news (either accurate or fake).

What do I do to fill my day? I try and keep to a routine, I keep my home clean and tidy, I watch and listen to sports documentaries and interviews such as watching Kobe Bryant’s last interview as well as others such as an interview with Ronaldo, also The Rock Q&A session, and motivational interviews such as Gary Vee and Tony Robinson.

For lighter relief, I watch wrestling Podcasts and talk to my school mates about sport.

In respect of Boccia, I continue to develop and work towards my goals supported by my sports psychologist, practicing the game at home and using a variety of tools to help me train and have fun at the same time! Some of them are similar to those we use at our PACE sessions and help me to remember all the good times we’ve spent together and anticipated the time when we can all get back together again.

It’s important to organize your day with a mixture of activities to improve yourself and also some that are more fun things to do. Also to remember the current situation won’t last forever and life will get back to normal, so don’t dwell on the present but look forward and prepare for better times in the future!

I hope all my friends from PACE are staying safe and keeping positive and I look forward to talking to you all again very soon”.

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