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Frustration!

Sunshine Girls still awaiting approval for contact training

Published:Thursday | April 15, 2021 | 12:10 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Sunshine Girls Adean Thomas (left) and Nichole Dixon go through their paces during a training session at the Leila Robinson Courts at the National Stadium in June 2019.
Sunshine Girls Adean Thomas (left) and Nichole Dixon go through their paces during a training session at the Leila Robinson Courts at the National Stadium in June 2019.
Robinson
Robinson
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President of Netball Jamaica Tricia Robinson said her organisation is growing frustrated as they are yet to be granted permission from the Government for the Sunshine Girls to return to contact training. The Sunshine Girls, who are ranked fourth in...

President of Netball Jamaica Tricia Robinson said her organisation is growing frustrated as they are yet to be granted permission from the Government for the Sunshine Girls to return to contact training.

The Sunshine Girls, who are ranked fourth in the world, are currently preparing for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, but that preparation has been limited to virtual sessions.

Robinson told The Gleaner that teams around the world have already begun full-contact training, including world champions New Zealand, who recently played a series against Australia.

The Vitality Netball Superleague season is now taking place in England, with Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball League set to begin in just over two weeks’ time. Meanwhile, there has been no netball competition in Jamaica for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, England, New Zealand and Australia have all seen a steady decrease in their COVID-19 cases in recent times following the roll-out of their vaccine programmes, while Jamaica is currently experiencing an increase in cases. The island also started its vaccination programme a month ago.

LAGGING IN PREPARATIONS

Nevertheless, Robinson lamented that the Sunshine Girls are behind in their preparations for the Commonwealth Games and is hoping to receive positive news from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in short order.

“We are still awaiting our approvals from ODPEM, but this has really hampered our programme, especially when you consider that all the other countries are playing, except for us,” said Robinson.

“I have not received a timeline as to when we will be able to resume (contact training), and so we are just still waiting on the approvals to go on court to train,” she added. “It is a very critical time for us now to be on court because we are preparing for the Commonwealth Games next year.”

Robinson admitted that several members of the team have shown signs of frustration with the situation and are tired of having to train virtually.

“They are training virtually and it is natural that some amount of fatigue would set in, in terms of not being able to train the way they are used to, but we just have to hold tight until we get the approval,” Robinson said.

However, renowned sports physician Dr Akshai Mansingh said the recent spike in virus cases is making it very difficult for the Government to grant any sporting organisation approval for the resumption of sports, and believes sporting administrators and athletes must be more understanding of the challenges.

“You just have to understand that we are probably in the worst part of our crisis in the pandemic in terms of daily cases and community spread,” said Mansingh. “No contact sport is fairly safe and, unfortunatel,y netball is among the high-contact sports, which has the highest chance of spreading the virus among its peers.

“Generally, if you have to have any sort of high-contact, high-risk sport (resuming), then it has to be done in some sort of a biosecure bubble,” Mansingh said.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com