Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Letter of the Day | Will minor sports exist after COVID-19?

Published:Monday | May 17, 2021 | 12:07 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam

It is no doubt that minor sports such as table tennis, swimming, squash and badminton have been struggling long before the coronavirus pandemic hit. I am a badminton national athlete. While some national athletes from bigger sports have received financial assistance to keep themselves afloat during the pandemic, most national athletes from minor sports have not.

Before COVID-19 hit, funds were difficult to get and finding a suitable venue to train and host competitions was always a challenge for many years. These problems have now increased 10-fold. During the pandemic, we lost our major training and competition venue (albeit not a very suitable one), as they have decided to get rid of the badminton hall there.

Day after day in the local newspapers, local news stations and radio stations, we hear of sports like track and field, football and cricket, pushing and lobbying for the resumption of their activities. Track and field has been able to gain some steam with local competitions, such as the beloved “Champs” which just concluded. Other sports like football are well on their way into gaining some traction for themselves. The recent pump of $14 million into the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) is said to assist athletes (track and field athletes) in their preparations for the Olympics and other international meets, provide funding for national senior and junior trials, as well as other events.

This is truly wonderful for those athletes and it is a great move by JOA. However, I can’t help but wonder, “What about minor sports? What about us?” What will come of the sports receiving virtually no attention during these hard times? Some sports seem to have fallen off of the face the earth. I am left to wonder, will minor sports even exist competitively in Jamaica after the pandemic, or will they return to being just the backyard activities they were once known for?

KATHERINE WYNTER

National badminton player