WAKO coach Sharon Gill shared her experience of the COVID-19 pandemic ©GB Fit

World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) coach Sharon Gill has shared her experience of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a campaign launched to celebrate female coaches and other women in sport. 

The Briton, a member of the WAKO Women in Sport Committee, described how she set up online classes after restrictive measures put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus prevented her from teaching in person.

"Straight away, I set up Zoom classes and got every one of my students involved and training in all the classes," she said, promoting the "#HerWinOurWin" scheme in the process.

"It wasn’t an easy task and some weeks I was teaching and training in up to 26 sessions per week, which really took its toll on my body, but I soon got used to it and once into a routine, really enjoyed it. 

"In fact, once everyone got into the way it worked, many parents also joined in and we had some great sessions together and lots of fun along the way."

Gill then shared how she moved from online classes to in-person sessions as restrictions eased.

Sharon Gill shared her lockdown experience as part of WAKO's #HerWinOurWin campaign ©WAKO
Sharon Gill shared her lockdown experience as part of WAKO's #HerWinOurWin campaign ©WAKO

"All classes have very strict rules and only up to 10 students are allowed in a class at any time and must maintain social distancing," she said.

"Because I have my parents at home who are still very vulnerable, I have to be really careful myself so all students - except for four- to seven-year-olds - must wear face coverings when training and I wear a face mask and face shield as well, along with my assistant coaches.

"It now means I teach up to 5 to 6 classes per night and have to make sure in between each class my gym is fully disinfected throughout, including all walls, toilets and training areas ready for the next class.

"When I get home, to minimise risks further, I must put my clothes straight in the washing machine and go straight in the shower, and when I am around my parents in the house I must wear a face mask to protect them.

"It’s a hard task but I don’t mind doing it, as teaching the martial arts is something I really love and enjoy."

Despite the obstacles facing participation in sport, Gill urged coaches to "keep positive".

"Hopefully, in time everything will get back to how it was and we can go about the martial arts in the way we used to, but for now we have to keep doing what we are doing, making the best of a bad situation but enjoying ourselves and having fun at the same time," she said. 

"We have to keep positive and be great role models to our students, whilst staying safe and looking after everyone around us."