Olympic and world sprint champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has joined the calls for the resumption of sports in Jamaica, citing that there is no evidence to support claims that sporting activities will contribute to the COVID-19 spike.
NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT
Fraser-Pryce noted that her views were not a “political statement” following a recent pushback from Opposition spokesman on health, Dr Marais Guy, who suggested that the government should rethink its decision about giving organizers the green light to resume sporting activities in the country.
However, Fraser-Pryce disagrees with Dr. Guy.
“There is no evidence at all that sporting events, which have no spectators in a stadium or where spectators are socially distant, have contributed to or are likely to contribute to a further spike in COVID-19 cases locally,” she said in a post on her Facebook account on Saturday.
The two-time Olympic champion and nine-time world gold medalist who is hoping to complete at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this summer, is still waiting to make her debut this season.
Fraser-Pryce added: “I urge the authorities to bear in mind that many participants in the sports industry in Jamaica cannot go overseas to compete. The mandatory two-week quarantine requirement upon return is not feasible and there’s no funding mechanism in place to assist those who are struggling badly due to a lack of finances.
“I also believe there is room to call for genuine additional support to be given to assist the athletes and other participants in the sports industry.”
SAFER THAN DAILY ROUTINES
The 34-year-old said she is not dismissing the fact there are risks associated with have sporting events in the current pandemic, but noted that a control and well organized sport environment is safer than must regular daily routines.
“Our regular day-to-day activities are way riskier in terms of exposure when compared to a controlled environment, where tests are conducted and participants in the industry – including those who engage in contact sports – are allowed to proceed with their discipline,” she continued.
“Additionally, proper structures, which include testing and adherence to protocols, have also been put in place overseas to accommodate the hosting of contact sports including boxing and football, among others.
“I am confident it is not beyond us here in Jamaica to put in place similar systems to limit the risk of Covid-19 spread while at the same time allowing for the reasonable resumption of the sports industry which has contributed so much to Brand Jamaica.
“It is my view that in the interest of the athletes, along with the national and global psyche and the thousand who depend on the industry, we should strongly resist talk of “holding off” on the process allowed for a formal but control and safe resumption of sporting events.”
“I note that there has been some pushback to the recent decision by the relevant authorities to give permission for the resumption of sporting activities on a case-by-case basis and without spectators,” Fraser-Pryce wrote.
“Some stakeholders in the national conversation have bluntly said that in light of the COVID-19 cases spike in Jamaica, the Government should hold off on granting permission to prospective sporting events holders applying to the director of sports in the Sports Ministry with a view of having their events held,” she added.