FORMER TT and West Indies captain, Daren Ganga believes the ongoing covid19 pandemic has helped reengineer the progressive mindset of sport administrators and athletes to become more creative and adaptable.
The ex-national cricketer revealed there were many drawbacks to the global sporting fraternity due to coronavirus. He however admitted, the downtime has provided athletes and administrators with a chance to reflect, refocus and rethink their strategies going forward.
Ganga made these comments on Friday during a live YouTube broadcast hosted by the University of West Indies (UWI) Faculty of Sport entitled ‘Sport after covid19’. The cricket commentator expressed his views alongside an experienced panel of past and present regional athletes, and other recognised sporting administrators.
The 90-minute virtual session was chaired by UWI Faculty of Sport dean Dr. Akshai Mansingh. Other contributing panellists were UWI head of Open Campus Academy of Sport Kervin Jean, sport scientist Dr. Rudolph Alleyne, Jamaican Olympic track medallist Grace Jackson, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association Christopher Samuda, TT and WI cricketer Nicholas Pooran and Russell Latapy, ex-TT football team captain and coach and current Barbados men’s team tactician.
“Positively, the pandemic has given us a chance to strengthen our agility as a people. This scenario has allowed us to focus on versatility and agility on all fronts in our normal everyday living. We’ve had to change our routine and we’re now finding more innovative ways to achieve our goals as sports personnel,” said Ganga.
The former batsman applauded athletes who were using this downtime to work on their physical and mental development. While he admitted indoor training and keeping self-motivated can be a challenge for sportsmen/women, especially youths, he urged athletes to use this time to realign their goals and project their thinking beyond the current pandemic.
“My hope is that athletes will continue to set themselves goals. You must continue to find a way of pushing that standard forward. I also think that one of the areas we find ourselves short is the mental side of the game. This is significant, if not more than the physical side of practising training and competing,” he said.
Although Ganga placed great emphasis on the positive impact of covid19 on sport development, he also highlighted several of the challenges currently being faced by athletes, administrators and especially, corporate entities.
Since the implementation of outdoor restrictions, a huge chunk of small and large businesses globally have experienced financial hardship. With the majority of sports halted, some mid-season, Ganga questioned how businesses/corporate entities would have to readjust their present and future investments.
“I also think from a revenue side a lot of people right now are worried about the investments they’ve made. And that’s across disciplines. We’ve had some leagues are halfway through and incomplete, a lot of broadcasting, media rights contracts which are still up in the air, production and television companies would have had contracts to be fulfilled and right now they are unsure if these contracts will be realised,” he explained.
On the road to recovery, Ganga insisted there must be a course of action that every government takes to dispel the fear of the health concern, a fundamental signal that they can start looking at other things and the economic impact that countries have gone through.
He concluded, “There is a process that has to be followed before we could start thinking about sport returning to normalcy.”