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‘ We are making the best out of the situation and trying to allow as much normality as possible,’ says Claire Nunez (teacher and netball player)

In this the fourth in our series looking at how Gibraltar sports people are handling the lockdown we speak to Claire Nunez.
The Bavaria and Gibraltar netball player has faced a dramatic change not only to her sporting career, but also to her full time employment suddenly taking on the role of an essential service supporting other essential service workers. As a teacher Claire is among the many teachers in Gibraltar supporting essential workers by taking care of their children whilst they are at work.
The young netball player and teacher had only just returned to playing after a serious injury saw her miss a large part of the season. Preparing to bid for a place on the Campions’ squad which was due to play in Netball Europe Claire finds herself juggling between trying to keep fit and her role as a teacher.
We had a chance to speak to Claire Nunez.

Atthe end of this month you would have been competing for a spot in the final team which was due to compete in the Netball Europe Open Challenge instead you have found yourself without netball for nearly a month. As a player how hard has it been for you seeing all sports stop?

I’ve been working incredibly hard to try and get back to my peak performance after having an ACL reconstruction last May. I was using the European Open as a target to motivate myself, as suffering an injury can really discourage you from getting back on court. Last year Gibraltar Netball had a remarkable year performing to our best standard yet, therefore we were all eager to get the chance to demonstrate this in front of our home crowd. I think it is rather disheartening as we are all craving that court time. However, I’m sure we’ll be even more grateful for the opportunity at the rescheduled date.

What has it been like with the lockdown keeping active and physically fit?

As you know Gibraltar Netball are more than just a team, thankfully we have been in touch with our coach and the rest of the players daily, sending each other videos of our home workouts, at times even completing these on a video call collectively. This really pushes us along as its all too easy to sit back on the sofa and binge watch tv. Everyone is making do with whatever little equipment they may have in order to keep our fitness levels high.

Life for you, unlike other professional sports people elsewhere hasn’t come to a stop. You are among one of the many hundreds who work within one of the key worker sectors. Can you explain what exactly you do? And what have your hours been now?

I’m a teacher in one of the secondary schools and our hours have been adapting to the demands throughout, ensuring the care and safety of children of frontline workers. We have currently adopted shifts and are providing an alternative curriculum for students to continue to thrive. From home we are also designing home learning tasks for students and uploading them onto our online platform.

How different has it been for your during the lockdown at work? And how important do you think it is for people such as yourselves and your workmates to continue working at this time of crisis?

It is incredibly quiet within the building and we’re all ensuring to keep to the social distancing measures. Within PE we instruct students to sanitise equipment before and after use, and have only allowed participation in non-contact activities. We are making the best out of the situation and trying to allow as much normality as possible for those students who continue to attend. I think just like other key workers, we all play our part. Naturally people have their worries, however so long as we are fit, healthy and schools remain open, we shall soldier on.

You see in the news what other countries are going through. What is your biggest concern? And how do you go about life on a daily basis?

My biggest concern is for figures to continue to rise over our healthcare’s capabilities. However, I have full faith that our government is doing absolutely everything within their power. It is very settling to see what they have managed so far. Aside from running the occasional errands for my grandparents and calling up family members my daily routine has remained fairly normal. I am thoroughly enjoying the 8pm clapping on my balcony alongside my neighbours.

Once the lockdown is over and things come back to normal how difficult will it be for someone such as yourself to get back into the sport?

No doubt there will be some sort of regression within the skills aspect and perhaps on our cardio. Let’s just hope it is all over sooner that we expect it to be and we can just shake off the cobwebs and get back to it.

How important do you think it will be for Sport people to keep their focus and discipline during this crisis for when the time comes to return to normality?

I’m sure there will be some people who are welcoming the break. Overtraining can take its toll on our bodies therefore recovery is important for us too. It depends the level you are currently working at and that of which you are planning on working towards. Personally I will continue to have the European selection in sight, whether or not I achieve it, I would like to think I have given it my best shot.

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