Whitehorse Daily Star

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LET IT FLY – Archers retrieve their fired arrows during an Arctic Winter Games trial on Dec. 15, 2019 at Takhini Elementary School. Unable to practise now due to COVID-19 concerns, archery coach Warren Kapaniuk said he's hopeful they will be able to train outside soon. Photo by TEAM YUKON/STEPHAN ANDERSON-LINDSAY

Coaches eager to get back training

As COVID-19 lockdown measures remain, sports organizations remain shuttered from their facilities where they would normally practise and play.

By John Tonin on April 28, 2020

As COVID-19 lockdown measures remain, sports organizations remain shuttered from their facilities where they would normally practise and play.

With sports still a no-go, the Star reached out to two more coaches to see who they are handling the lockdown and encouraging the athletes during this time.

Table tennis coach Kevin Murphy said he is missing the time spent in the gym with the athletes.

"I feel like I have two weeks off but I can't do anything," said Murphy. "Coaching is what broke up my retirement – I would do four days of training a week. I miss being with the kids."

Murphy said table tennis is a tough sport to practise at home if you don't own a table, but that everyone fighting the same battle.

"If you don't have a table, it's tough," said Murphy. "The pros, all the way down (to amateur), are being affected by the same thing. It's interesting to see everybody in the same boat."

Murphy said he is trying to stay involved with the sport.

"I do some work with Table Tennis Canada," said Murphy. "I'm watching much more table tennis videos and I am interacting with table tennis people across the country."

During the lockdown, Murphy said some of the athletes have checked in on him to see how he is doing. His message the kids?

"We are all in this together," said Murphy.

Murphy said all scheduled activities have been postponed until next year. Until more information about the virus is learned, Murphy said training will remain in limbo.

"A lot has been put to the side and we don't know what's going to happen yet," said Murphy. "Until we know, there is no way to plan for it."

Once activities can resume, Murphy said the first order of business is getting the tables purchased for the Arctic Winter Games, moved to École Whitehorse Elementary School.

He hopes to hold a tournament once he gets the all-clear.

In the archery world, coach Warren Kapaniuk, said all events have been iced through October.

Although he said the communication with the athletes hasn't been consistent, he has seen the archers making the best of situation and still practising.

"They are doing stretching and strength building," said Kapaniuk. "Some have set-ups in their basements. It allows them to focus on their technique and not lose that muscle memory."

In the next three weeks, Kapaniuk said he is hopeful that the archers can begin shooting outside – while ensuring physical distancing.

"As long as the recommendation doesn't change, we will be to stay social distancing," said Kapaniuk. "We have a lot of space and are numbers are so that we'd still be following the group recommendation."

When they can move outside, Kapaniuk said the plan is to move forward with training.

"We don't want to start from scratch," said Kapaniuk. "We don't want to lose months of training. Even if we can only shoot at 18 metres outside, every arrow is still a shot arrow and a step in improving."

With more free time on his hands, Kapaniuk said he has remained a student of the sport.

"I'm looking up more techniques and just expanding my knowledge base – especially when it comes to equipment," said Kapaniuk. "Before, I would be looking up a problem to a solution. Now, I will hopefully know the solution already."

The archers were able to get their last competition in, Canadian Indoor Nationals, on March 8 – the day after the Arctic Winter Games were cancelled.

Kapaniuk said they were lucky to have that final competition and when they are able to compete again, the Yukon archers will be ready.

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