Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks on Sunday.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#FROM a sporting perspective, one of the biggest announcements made by Prime Minister Hubert Minnis yesterday was that professional athletes can now resume their training in the Bahamas in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
#Last week Friday, high jumper Jamal Wilson made a plea to Minnis to allow the athletes to continue their training at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in preparation for the remainder of the track and field season once World Athletics gives the official start date.
#On Sunday during his national address to inform the public that the Bahamas government is moving into phase 1B today with his measured plan for re-opening the economy of the country, Minnis said professional athletes will be allowed to resume their training.
#While no further details were revealed on what course of action the athletes should take, Wilson said he’s just grateful that his plea on behalf of the other elite athletes in the country was heard and addressed.
#“I didn’t hear the actual announcement because I was taking a nap, but I got a lot of calls from athletes and concerned persons who said that he gave the okay for us to resume our training because we do what we do to make the Bahamas proud,” Wilson said.
#“I want to really thank the Prime Minister for allowing us the opportunity to do what we love to do. I think the athletes can now use this opportunity to get themselves ready for the upcoming season whenever it is announced.”
#Wilson, who has qualified to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games that will now be held in 2021 in Tokyo, Japan, thanked The Tribune for publishing his comments in the article.
#Although he’s aware that the country is still under a 24-hour curfew and practicing social distancing, Wilson said he will show up at the stadium fully attired with his mask, gloves and hand sanitiser in training gear to work out. If he’s allowed to enter the stadium, he said he will follow the protocol measures and he hopes that all of the other elite athletes will do the same.
#Wilson, who spoke out for the athletes and not as their representative as that distinction belongs to 400 metre hurdler Jeffery Gibson, said there are at least 10 or more athletes who are home preparing for the remainder of the season.
#World Athletics, the governing body for track and field in the world, postponed the World Indoor Championships in March to March 2021 in Nanjing, China. World Athletics also agreed with the International Olympic Committee’s decision to postpone the Olympics in July to July, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
#However, World Athletics announced that they have protected the weekend of August 8-9, 2020, as the projected window for national championships this year, following the disruption of the international competition calendar by the coronavirus.
#But Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ President Drumeco Archer indicated it may not be possible for the Bahamas to comply with that request as it’s uncertain what position the country will be in with the re-opening of its economy and whether athletes will be in a position to travel to compete.
#He noted that while it’s unlikely that it will happen, it’s going to be a wait-and-see approach moving forward.
#The last official event staged at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium was the National High School Track and Field Championships that was being held from Thursday to Saturday, March 11-13.
#The event, featuring hundreds of athletes from around the country, was in day one when the Ministry of Sports informed the officials, coaches and athletes that the event had to be postponed until further notice.
#Not only has track and field suffered from the spread of the coronavirus, but all international sporting bodies have either postponed or cancelled their activities, starting with the National Basketball Association on March 11.
#The NBA’s decision impacted every other sporting organisation which also shut down their season to help combat the spread of the virus.