Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Working to restart sports - Grange, sporting bodies strategising to reopen sporting industry

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2020 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (right), winning the women’s 100m in 10.88 seconds at the Racers Grand Prix, which was held at the National Stadium on Saturday, June 8, 2019.

MINISTER OF Sport, Olivia Grange, says she is working with the various local sporting bodies to develop a plan to reopen the country’s sporting industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Like other countries across the globe, organised sports in Jamaica have been suspended since the middle of March, as the Government tried to curtail the spread of the virus.

However, in keeping with the Government’s new plans of teaching Jamaicans to live with the virus in order to get the economy up and running again, Minister Grange is currently exploring ways the sports industry can resume its functions in Jamaica.

“While we look ahead to how we live with COVID-19, we have started to strategise and have developed some protocols that we will be sharing with the associations for their further input not too long from now,” Grange told The Gleaner.

Cancelled Meets

The Red Stripe Premier League, along with a bevy of athletics meets, has been cancelled due to the virus.

“We are also learning from other countries that are beginning to reintroduce sporting activities. Our planning is, therefore, being informed by the resources that are available to us and the lessons that we have been learning along the way. We understand the need for quick fixes but there must be an understanding that none of us have experienced a pandemic like this before in the way it has affected us,” Grange stated.

The minister further noted that the plans will be shaped by the current protocols outlined by the Government but underlined that it was important to provide opportunities for stakeholders and interests within the sporting industry.

“Our protocols must include and be guided by the orders issued by the GOJ under the Disaster Risk Management Act but it must also take into consideration, the livelihoods of all those who depend on sport – athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, food concessionaires, vendors, those in manufacturing – and when our borders reopen, the tourism industry. So, yes, there are considerations and discussions, but we have to make sure that the strategies will benefit sport rather than cause more harm,” added Grange.

Jamaica has so far recorded over 556 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Up to yesterday afternoon, 238 persons have recovered, while there are nine deaths.