THE lingering uncertainty that constantly dictates the resumption and/or cancellation of local sporting events continues to demotivate athletes on a national scale.
So says Rainbow Cup Tobago organiser Jason Gooding, who was forced to postpone the annual triathlon event from June 12 to November 6, owing to the government’s April 1 restrictions which prohibit all domestic sporting activity.
On Wednesday, Gooding broke the hearts of veteran and upcoming triathletes by announcing the postponement of the Turtle Beach-based meet.
Additionally, a recent spike in local covid19 cases forced the Ministry of Health to implement new restrictions regarding public gatherings and outdoor sports.
Three weeks ago, health minister Terrence Deyalsingh clamped down on recreational team sports, owing to the rising cases of the covid19.
With no sign of a swift resumption to sport coming from the Government, Gooding opted to reschedule the event in hope of reduced covid19 cases by November.
However, the continuous uncertainty and rolling back of restrictions on public gatherings, particularly in non-contact and water sports, has been taking a negative toll on several athletes nationwide.
“Over the last year, there have been many athletes that have become demotivated. It’s like constantly studying for an exam but there is no exam.
“You have people that are training to be competitive athletes that don’t have the opportunity to be judged; to test their speed against other people among other things. A lot of athletes are demotivated.
“They had a glimmer of hope when I said we were still putting on the event in June. That has been shattered now but I’m postponing it and not cancelling it,” said Gooding.
The veteran triathlete also vouched for other sporting disciplines who he believes, by way of using international rules and regulations, can resume once the proper protocols are observed by athletes and officials.
Last year, the 16th annual Rainbow Cup Tobago was postponed to June 12, 2021, owing to covid19. With the Government’s recent cutback on sporting activity, excluding national athletes training for a major competition, domestic athletes are being drastically affected.
“All sporting communities are looking forward to a return to sport. Unfortunately, it is what it is. When we postponed last year’s triathlon we hoped by April of this year that things would be looking more positive.
“But it seems we’re regressing into how it was before regarding lockdowns of beaches and sports. Sports always seems to take the first kick because we’re the first to be cut back on,” he added.
Gooding said that triathletes who previously registered for last year’s edition and this year’s June event are still confirmed to participate at the November date.
The additional five-month duration, from June to November, will provide triathletes with ample time to prepare themselves once the event is given the green light by the relevant authorities.
“I hope it’s enough time for the public to get its act together. Where we thought things would have been by now, we’re not. I’m not going to keep pushing it and then one week before the event we find out that we’re not allowed to do it. People need a good bit of time to prepare for the event so the coming months will serve as preparation for the athletes,” he closed.
On April 1, in his announcement on a return of recreational sports restrictions, Deyalsingh said that “the freedom we had to participate in recreational sports, both indoors and outdoors, unfortunately, we (will) have to roll back.”
Less than one month before Deyalsingh’s announcement, Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe announced the resumption of outdoor sporting activity, effective February 22, but those activities must cater for 22 people or less.