While the resumption of sport continues to gradually increase around the globe, the majority of sporting disciplines in TT remain at a standstill owing to Government-imposed regulations to minimize the spread of covid19.
With the Summer Games confirmed to get underway in Tokyo, Japan from July 23, several previously postponed Olympic and FIFA World Cup qualifier events are scheduled to officially resume within the coming months.
However, preparations for TT’s locally-based, potential Olympians remain stagnant as elite sport training among other integral development programmes are yet to resume.
Team sports such as golf and tennis have been given the green light by the Government but neither sport is currently in the running for an Olympic qualifier spot for TT.
Additionally, all public indoor sporting facilities remain closed thus limiting several disciplines to fitness training only.
Although still recovering from an injury, TT pro volleyball player Channon Thompson believes national athletes should be given a chance to use these facilities in preparation for a slew of upcoming major international qualifier events.
While she acknowledges the risk associated with public gatherings and the importance of adhering to the Government’s mandated health regulations, the seasoned pro thinks controlled training sessions will go a long way towards enhancing the training regimen of national athletes.
“I do believe the Government is doing all in their power to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus but we as national athletes still have to compete, represent our country and prepare with very limited resources.
“To not even be able to use these limited resources in comparison to the rest of the world puts us at a disadvantage. The rest of the world is preparing while we are forced to find alternative measures of preparation and they are still very insufficient.
“We need to be on the court doing ball work, technical work and not just fitness. It would be a huge help if measures are put in place for us to use the facilities. Even if it means a maximum of five persons/athletes at a time, we can do training in intervals, maybe hourly and with groups,” she said.
Prior to her August return from the European pro circuit with German women’s Bundesliga champion club MTV Stuttgart, Thompson’s contract with the dominant outfit was not renewed due to her season-ending injury in November 2019.
During a league game, the 26-year-old ruptured her plantar fascia (ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot) and has not yet fully recovered. Since the cancellation of the league in March due to covid19, Thompson was unable to receive medical attention since her contract with the club ended in May and was not renewed owed to her inability to play.
Her return to TT has significantly aided her recovery. She has been working with a physiotherapist on strength and conditioning but has to foot all her medical bills.
“It would be nice to have some financial assistance from the federation (TT Volleyball Federation) to continue recovery. Especially for being a national athlete and having extended my body for the country over the last 10 years.
“It just would be nice to receive the same level of care and concern that I received when I was overseas. Especially since this injury I would have sustained was something that developed over the years. It would be appreciated to have some sort of assistance and not feel like I’m alone in this,” she explained.
Newsday reached out to TTVF president Mushtaque Mohammed on TT’s upcoming tournament schedule and the possibility of Thompson receiving assistance from the federation.
He revealed there are currently no upcoming qualifier tournaments for the remainder of 2020 since they have been all postponed to next year or cancelled. According to him, only the beach volleyball teams are preparing for Olympic qualifiers in 2021.
“2021 depends on what happens with the covid19 situation. We still have pending the beach volleyball qualification for men and women. We’re into the semi-final stage. That was carded to be held this year but everything has been cancelled until further notice.
“We have the upcoming virtual congress for NORCECA (North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) that’s going to be held on the third weekend in October. From there, we’d have new guidelines and decisions that will enter to take place.
“From a Caribbean perspective, there was the World Championships qualification tournament that was due for this year, we rescheduled all starting by March/April next year,” he stated
With regards to assistance for Thompson, Mohammed noted the athlete is yet to approach the local fraternity in an official capacity to outline her situation.
“I know she had an injury but she has not yet approached the TTVF to inform us on her predicament. As an athlete, Channons knows what she has to do. We have a very good relationship with the athlete. We are willing to support but there has been no official information presented to us. I don’t even know the nature or the cost of her rehabilitation,” the TTVF president concluded.