Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With the Covid-19 induced guidelines in place this year, Dusshera is being celebrated as a low key affair. Odisha sports fraternity is not only well aware of the fact, rather they are observing Puja with extra caution.

“I enjoy Puja a lot every year. However, due to Covid-19 norms in place this year there is not much opportunity to roam outside and have darshan of the Goddess in different pandals. So I have come home and spending quality time with my family members,” said Odisha T20 skipper, Govind Poddar, who is observing Navratri with his family in Rourkela this time.

“Like every year we have arranged Durga Puja at our home. But this year the arrangement is a bit bigger considering the fact that there is huge restriction to join the celebrations outside,” he said.

Emerging chess star, Saina Salonika has also confined her to home. I will fully respect the Covid-19 protocols and remain with my family during Puja, she said.

“Everybody should follow the guidelines set by the State Government to keep the infection at bay. I am focusing on online chess training and studies,” said Saina.

“Every year I used to enjoy a lot during Durga Puja. I used to visit different pandals and gorge on some street food. But this year the situation is different and we all should keep restraint and wait for an entertaining Puja next time,” she said.

Star Rugby player, Bhagyalaxmi Barik is also not much upbeat about Puja celebrations this year and is giving more importance to training.

“I am a kind of girl, who loves to enjoy a lot with my friends. We used to have lots of get-togethers during Puja time every year. But this time I am not at all thinking about any kind of celebration as visiting the pandals is forbidden. I am going to my home at Choudwar. I will prepare some Odia delicacies along with my family members and we will enjoy all together. We will also perform some rituals and fast during Dusshera,” said Bhagyalaxmi.

Odia hockey stars Dipsan Tirkey and Amit Rohidas used to celebrate Puja every year with their Hindu friends.

“Though we are not Hindus, we celebrate Dura Puja every year in sports hostels with our inmates. But this year we will miss the celebrations due to the unprecedented situation arising out of Covid-19.” said Dipsan.

“As professional players we are extremely serious about our physical fitness. We are taking extra precautions to be away from the infection. We are confining ourselves only to the training ground and complying with all the Covid-19 guidelines. We will not venture outside during Puja time,” both Dipsan and Amit said.

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