In quarantined Venezuela, the karate champion takes training to the living room

CARACAS: Accustomed to exercising between Venezuela the best youth karate athletes, 16 years old Ricardo Perez Now he trains between four stools and two black leather sofas in his living room.

The four-time Venezuela n youth karate champion was upset when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of international tournaments in The Savior , Bolivia and Mexico for which he had been preparing.

But his family quickly turned the home into a full-time karate gym, or "dojo", rearranging furniture to leave a tatami mat in the center of their living space where he works out and also leads classes via Zoom for children and other youth athletes.

On other days, with Venezuela under lockdown since mid-March, he trains on the roof of his building, with imposing views of the valley of Caracas .

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We have to have faith that this will all come to an end, Perez said after leading an online class. We have to take the time to teach the children to make them feel different ... to make quarantining a little bit easier.

The hardest part is not being able to spend time with his trainers and other athletes he has grown close to, said Perez, a member of Venezuela 's national karate team who has won gold medals in South American and Pan-American tournaments.

Leading online classes usually starts with several minutes of struggling with Venezuela 's patchy internet, and often requires working around Zoom's 40-minute cut-off for online meetings.

In one session on Thursday night, he counted exercises in Japanese, his white uniform snapping loudly with each hit.

How do you feel? well? he asked during a water break. Hydration is very important.

Her mother Solange, 46, her father Ricardo, 48, and sister Alejandra, 10, take advantage of the setup to do their own workouts on YouTube exercise videos.

It's what he's passionate about, it's what he loves, so it's easy for him to do this, Solange said.

As parents we have to support it.