It was a sigh of relief for Bahamian professional athletes who have been riding out the COVID-19 pandemic at home, after Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced yesterday during a national address that professional athletes will be allowed to resume training under phase 1b of the government’s plan for reopening the economy.
The Nassau Guardian caught up with a few professional athletes who said they are happy to get back to preparing for competition, whenever the world reopens.
Professional basketball player Michael Carey came home from Switzerland back in March. He was set to make his Swiss debut in mid-March before his league got suspended and eventually canceled.
“I feel great,” Carey said. “A lot of us are at home putting on weight and this is probably some of the worst we have ever eaten. It is even good to finally run a mile.”
Professional tennis player Kevin Major Jr. was scheduled to be playing in Germany, but he is at home and is excited to resume training.
“As an athlete, it is completely different because you always have to be ready. When you are stagnant, things slow down, you lose some timing and you have to work to get back to where you used to be and you have to keep working to get better. This helps us a lot because when everything opens back up, we won’t be so far behind,” Major said.
For professional high jumper Jamal Wilson, he is glad to see the professional athletes have a chance to get back into training.
“I feel excellent, not so much because the opportunity has opened up for me to continue training, but because I now get to see other athletes come out and train. I have been paying attention to what people have been saying through various social media platforms. A lot of people are at home sitting down, getting out of shape. I am just happy to know that we all have the opportunity now to get up and do something that we love to do again, which is training and getting better in our respective sports,” Wilson said.
As for the usage of sporting facilities, Timothy Munnings, the director of sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, said that the ministry will ensure health safety is preserved.
“It is likely that certain facilities will become available with limited access. Authorized athletes and coaches will always be required and expected to continue safety protocols. The NSA (National Sports Authority) will prepare as necessary before opening its doors to ensure everyone’s health safety is preserved. We are seeking additional clarification for other athletes. It must be clear that all exercise is restricted to the curfew hours, which remain in place,” Munnings said.
Carey, who is a member of the The Bahamas’ senior men’s national basketball team, said he hopes provisions are made for another person to accompany athletes who need assistance for training.
Wilson, who represented The Bahamas in the high jump and won medals at the senior level, said that he and his fellow athletes will have to respect the laws of social distancing.
As for the weight room and other fitness equipment, Major, the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s senior men’s national champion, is hoping that gyms such as MacFit 360, which has a lot of the equipment that he and other professional athletes are looking for, can be opened up once there is enough demand by the athletes.
All three athletes said they will be putting in work from today, as they look to get back into top shape as the world slowly opens back up.