CHAIRMAN of the Sports Company of TT (SporTT), Douglas Camacho, is eager for a resumption of domestic team competitions locally, once TT does not get a spike of covid19 cases.
The veteran sports administrator also commended the SporTT executive and workers for ensuring that all covid19 protocols were maintained at the major sporting facilities, since the outbreak of cases in TT began last March.
During a recent interview, Camacho gave his expectations for 2021, in his capacity as SporTT chairman.
“We’ve continued to work closely with the Ministry of Health,” he said. “We have all national athletes in training, in the individual sports like tennis, swimming and so on. We have a controlled way in which we have it done. We have protocols for each of the facilities.”
Camacho continued, “At least, for the first quarter of this year, expectations are that the same would continue to prevail. If we don’t get a spike, we would have more opening up, the youngsters in team sport can go back out and domestic competitions could happen. We’ll follow the science, where they advise us is where we’ll go.”
Sporting facilities under the control of SporTT were closed in mid-March when the outbreak struck.
However, the group received plaudits from local sports fans for the work they did with the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, as they ensured that the venue was well-prepared to stage the majority of matches during the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, which was the other venue used during last year’s CPL, is owned and managed by the Queen’s Park Cricket Club.
“It was a very challenging year, with the whole covid(19) pandemic and having to do things differently,” Camacho said. “What we were, however, able to achieve was to have all the necessary protocols established.
“As soon as the Ministry of Health gave the go-ahead for us to open back up the facilities in our remit, like the Hasely Crawford and Ato Boldon (stadia), we were well-prepared with all the protocols and were able to (ensure) international athletes (returned to) training for all the major events in a very controlled manner. We were very pleased with that.”
Camacho continued, “In terms of our other successes, we put on a very good show with regards to the CPL. It was all hands on deck and all the people who were involved really pulled their weight and made it, in the end, in our opinion, a huge success, particularly as it was the first of its kind in the world, during the covid period.
“It’s the model that most of the other events patterned, like the IPL, having seen how successful we’ve done it like the bio-secure bubble. We felt very pleased about that.”
With all local sporting activities on hold until late June, when horse racing resumed, sporting bodies had to find other means to stay active.
“Our programmes have been impacted because we don’t have the means to go out there, do some of the work that we wanted to do and maintain the facilities,” said Camacho. “A combination of reasons (such as) funding and even when we had funding, we couldn’t bring the tradespeople because for a while it was just essential services. Gradually, we were able to get things back on track. It’s very interesting and challenging times.”
The SporTT chairman expressed his delight at how sporting bodies decided to make use of technology during the lockdown period.
“The good thing about it too was that we saw was, at the level of the governing bodies for sport, an effort to make use of the technology and put on a lot of programmes focussing on human development,” said Camacho. “A lot of people took the opportunity to sharpen up.
“They used the downtime, not being able to physically take part in sport, to put on programmes for their memberships. That was a plus that came out of the covid. Being forced into that scenario, I think good use was made of the technology.”