The Sunday Mail
Deputy Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE rugby and athletics star Shingirayi Hlanguyo has crunched the numbers, done research and is of the opinion that Covid-19 which has rattled global sport is not going anywhere any time soon.
In his view, people should brace themselves for the “new normal”.
“Looking at the pandemic, it has caused a lot of irreparable damage. I remember when it started here in the United States of America, you could not even go buy a roll of tissue paper in the stores and I could see the correlation between some basic commodities running out in shops and the virus itself,” said the Cheetahs winger.
“As panic settled in, stores started running out of goods more and more. But now it is just lockdown after lockdown because cases have not stopped rising.
“There was a time here when things looked like they were settling; and normalcy looked like a possibility with bars and restaurants being allowed to open, but that has all changed.
“Cases rose again because people didn’t take into account the importance of social distancing, and now we are under a new lockdown.
“It’s a tougher and stricter lockdown with fines for not wearing masks now ranging from as little as US$80-US$350 depending on the region you live in.
“This is the new normal and I don’t see the virus going away any time soon unless a vaccine is found and that can take years”.
Hlanguyo is based in the greater Los Angeles (LA) area, where he is a junior at California State University. The area happens to be one of the most affected in the US.
At the time of print, there were about 488 000 confirmed cases and 8 908 deaths reported in the city of LA.
Being in the thick of things has taught the Cheetahs winger and short distance runner a unique appreciation of the pandemic.
“I have done some research, looking into past viral pandemics like the Spanish flu and stuff and one of the takeaways was that these are not something that can be eradicated in six or nine months,” said the 22-year-old.
“This is going to be like the new normal for a while, and the key to survival is adapting. Ordinarily people don’t like change, but they have to accept it and things will become a lot easier.
“With acceptance comes understanding, and in this case one begins to understand how they can keep themselves safe.
“The advice I can give people is to observe social distancing, wear masks and wash your hands.
“I am not a fan of just relying on hand sanitisers because they don’t completely clean your hands, just kill the germs”.
Hlanguyo is one of the few to profit from the pandemic itself as it gave him time to heal from a series of injuries, most of which saw him miss a number of rugby and athletics assignments last year.
“The pandemic was actually a blessing in disguise for me as our season got cancelled and gave me some time to heal.
“I would have loved to make it to the World Relay Championships in Japan and some of the rugby assignments last year, but I was in bad shape.
“It started off as a left hamstring and the initial prognosis was a pull, but we later found out that it was a tear.
“I was lucky that the doctors caught it early and I had to stop my season and work on that.
“I later had an ankle injury, had some trouble with my hip mobility — which in turn affected my full range of motion — and then had trouble with both hamstrings and my quads.
“So the lockdown gave me time to heal and rehabilitate, which I am still doing, but I am better now.
“I just took it easy, tried my level best to rest and now have started the process of getting back to full fitness,” he said.
The lockdown also gave the Peterhouse alumni time to concentrate on his studies and get his Grade Point Average (GPA) up.
Hlanguyo, who is currently studying Kinesiology with an option in Exercise and Human Performance, recently earned College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 8 Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country First-Team honours.
The All-District teams recognise the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the court and in the classroom.
On the track, Hlanguyo already had quite a start to the season; posting a provisional qualifying mark for the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II Championships in the 200 metres, with a time of 21.24.
The time was second best in the nation, and had the best time of 10.67 seconds in the 100 in the California Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA).