In France, closed since 29 October, gyms for all disciplines will not reopen until at least mid-February. In the uncertainty, some non-professional athletes engage themselves in clandestine sports trainings in order to avoid falling into depression and thus preserve their mental health.
This gives us a slight taste of the film Fight Club.
Outdoor sports are still allowed in France, but are almost completely banned because of the curfew at 6pm.
“If I don’t have karate, I go crazy!”lucas
Like other Parisian frequent users of kimonos and gymnasiums, which are closed in times of pandemic, Lucas* has been devoting himself for weeks to clandestine sports practice in order to preserve his mental health.
“It’s part of the well-being balance.”lucas
Says the 25-year-old sportsman, who uses the basement of a furnitures shop in the north of Paris as a training club for himself and his karateka partners. They go there once a week on average.
“It’s absurd to not think about the impact it can have on people to stop this kind of practice. There is a lot of talks about the psychological problems that can be linked to the lockdown, and preventing sportspeople from doing what is important for them and for their balance is also a bit like pushing them to go crazy,” says Lucas, who lives in an 18m2 studio.lucas
However, if we stick to the text of the law, our sportsman risks a fine of 135 euros in case of control.
“What oppresses me is the distinction they make between amateur and professional sport: it sounds like the professionals need the sport because they get paid,”sophie
Explains Sophie*, a 24-year-old sportswoman who trains with Lucas secretly.
“Karate, for us, is a way of life.”sophie
Regarding the rights of elite athletes, the decree n°2021-31 of 15 January 2021 on the French Ministry in charge of Sports affirms that professional and elite sportsmen and women but also other athletes registered on the Federal Performance Course, retain access to all sports facilities (outdoor and indoor) and they are authorised to be exempted from the curfew in the context of their travel and access to sports facilities.
However, according to Actu.fr, Montpellier was fined 10,000 euros, including a 5,000 euros suspension, for not respecting the Covid-19 protocol. The National Rugby League accused Montpellier of having allowed a contaminated player to train during a session in groups of eight.
The question we may wonder after this event: will the professionals adopt the Fight Club model in their turn?
*Given the situation, they prefer to remain anonymous so the names have been modified.