OLYMPIC hopefuls cyclist Alexi Costa and boxer Nigel Paul are staying upbeat, amidst the threat of covid19, which has virtually put a temporary halt to sports globally.
The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs has implemented a week-long closure of sporting venues, effective March 14, while local sporting bodies have postponed current and impending events, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Costa, who copped bronze in the women’s time trial, at the 2019 Elite Road Caribbean Championships in Havana, Cuba, said on Monday, “My motivation is to make sure that I can keep myself as prepared as possible and hope that this situation will calm down as soon as possible, so that everything gets back to normal. That is what is pushing me to keep my training going.”
Asked if she has kept in touch with her fellow riders, especially abroad, Costa replied, “Everybody is in the same situation with all their races…. just postponed and cancelled. It’s been pretty bad.”
Paul, the 2016 Olympic super-heavyweight participant, also mentioned on Monday, “I come into contact with a lot of other athletes, good friends and acquaintances, who are in taekwondo, who play badminton, (as well as) rugby players, encouraging each other.
“I’m receiving calls from most of my sporting friends, trying to find out what’s going on,” he added. “The athletes themselves are riding on one another and (are) encouraging each other to stay positive and focused.”
Costa was preparing for a few races in the United States while Paul was part of the TT team getting ready for their first Olympic qualifier, from March 27, in Argentina.
According to Costa, “I was supposed to leave (for) the US next week, to start racing, but most of the races that were scheduled for the first half of the season would have already been cancelled.
“The dates are all indefinite so, until then, I’ll have to keep training to the best of my ability so that, when they do reschedule, I would be ready for the competition,” Costa continued. “It’s very hard right now because, with training, we always try to plan as best as we can for our season. I’m just trying to take it in stride and keep training until.”
On the other hand, Paul said, “There is not much that can be done given the fact that the government (has) already put so much stipulations in place and guidelines to follow.”
He continued, “The team, we are ready. The qualifiers for us were supposed to be the 27th of this month. In terms of readiness, we are ready. But, given the fact that it has been postponed, we’re just trying to stay ready mentally. Everybody is at peak condition for the competition.”
In terms of their training programmes, how are Costa and Paul coping with all the latest developments?
Costa said, “I’m training on the road. Hopefully (the authorities) wouldn’t try to stop that too because that will be a disaster for me.” She noted, “I live in Cascade and we, more or less, go to the East, the South, over the North coast, riding to the beach. Hopefully they don’t try to put a ban (on that as well). If I am not able to train the amount of hours I (do) every week, I’ll lose a lot of fitness and I wouldn’t be able to compete.”
Paul said the TT boxing team was engaged in a live-in camp at the Cosmic Boxing Gym in Marabella.
He commented, “For the members of the team who (were) staying at the camp 100 per cent of the time were ordered not to leave. For people like myself and one or two members of the team who would frequent the gym, we were told to stay home and not make much contact with anybody else.
“The more senior members of the team, we know what to do in terms of training like home. I could work out in my room. We are ready. We’re just waiting on word for when the qualifiers are rescheduled to.”