Thu | Jul 9, 2020

Great challenges - Dacres: A return to competition in the current health climate will be complex

Published:Sunday | May 24, 2020 | 12:00 AMDaniel Wheeler - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Dacres

WORLD ATHLETICS Championships discus silver medallist Fedrick Dacres still thinks a demand exists for athletes to compete this season. However, he says that a return to competition in the current health climate will be complex.

In a wide-ranging Gleaner Instagram live interview on Thursday, he discussed the motivation of athletes to return to competition in the midst of COVID-19, prospective plans for the remainder of the 2020 season and the strength of the country’s field athletes.

The 2020 season has been impacted by the fact that meets in the Diamond League and World Continental Tour have either been postponed or cancelled. World Athletics recently announced a provisional schedule for the 2020 season that would start in August and end in October.

However, Dacres says that it would be difficult for athletes to return to a competitive state of mind given the various travel and other restrictions. The national discus record holder said that at one point he considered the season finished.

“It’s really hard to actually put yourself back in the state of mind to get going again because a lot of people, (myself included) wrote off this season. Because I was saying based on everything that’s going on, I don’t think that it would be wise for us to even travel much less compete and the stadiums won’t be packed,” Dacres said.

FINANCIAL STRAIN

The inactivity has also brought financial strain on athletes unable to earn because of meet postponements and cancellations. Dacres said while those with sponsorships are better off, those who depend on the earnings from meets are under great stress.

“I think the most difficult part is the not knowing. A lot of us make money from competing and we are not competing, we are not earning. Not knowing what is going to happen … that is the main stress. That is where the psychological strain actually comes in,” he said.

Despite the difficulties and the need to rediscover the competitive drive for this season, Dacres believes that there is still a desire for athletes to compete this year. The first meet on the revised Diamond League schedule is set to take place in Monaco on August 14.

Dacres said the main barrier to competing could be a psychological one.

“I think a lot of athletes want to compete at this point but there is the fear of not being ready,” he said.

While acknowledging the risk that international travel currently presents, he believes that his personal drive and ambition still give him the desire to compete this year.

“I always want to compete because I have goals and the thing is that it makes no sense to just sit back when others are working. I am always motivated but sometimes I need a push. In terms of competitive drive, I’m getting back into that place that there are things that I want to do this year and if I’m down to compete, I will compete,” he said.