The Coronavirus pandemic has affected people across the length and breadth of the country. And athletes are coming to the aid of those who need it most in fighting the disease.
While some athletes are donating money, others are helping in providing essentials to the needy, but Asian Games gold-winning rower, Dattu Baban Bhokanal has adopted a more hands-on approach -- sanitising his village in Nashik.
The 29-year-old used a fertiliser sprayer to carry out the sanitisation drive in his village Talegaon Ruhi, which is part of Chandvad tehsil on Sunday.
"Me, my family and some friends decided to sanitise the village, which has a population of about 12,000," Bhokanal told PTI over the phone.
He said it took them around four hours to complete the task.
Nashik is not as aggressively affected by the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic, which has ravaged Maharashtra. The region has just over 30 cases and 2 deaths with the Chandvad tehsil reporting just one case.
Bhokanal's village is, however, completely unaffected by the deadly outbreak so far.
Overall, the pandemic has claimed 339 lives in India where the number of positive cases has surged past the 10,000 mark. In Maharashtra, the total number of cases have gone past 2,000.
Bhokanal was on leave to visit the village when the nationwide lockdown, now extended till May 3, forced him to stay back longer than he was supposed to.
Making use of the time at hand, he carried out the sanitisation drive with his brother, uncle and a friend to help him out.
"Sanitisation of any area is important to keep the virus at bay. For example, when a person visits a doctor's clinic, he might touch the pole or the walls inside that clinic. Therefore, we thought sanitisation of the clinic was essential along with several other places," he explained.
The acclaimed rower, who is a silver-medallist from the Asian Championships, said a spraying machine lying at his home for agricultural usage, came in handy.
"We sanitised the places people frequent like the government clinic, veterinary clinic, gram panchayat office, its gates," informed the rower.
Bhokanal said he and his family also sanitised medical shops, temples and the local vegetable market.
He said he would continue to carry out this drive twice a week.
With the entire sporting calendar shredded due to the pandemic, rowing has also been affected.
Bhokanal said working out at home has helped him in shape and be ready for when action resumes.