Tue | Jul 14, 2020

Wilson worried - Sprintec head coach forecasts bleak financial outlook for athletes because of COVID-19 disruption

Published:Friday | April 3, 2020 | 12:00 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) crosses the finish line to win the women’s 100m race final ahead of second-place Dezerea Bryant of the US, (centre) and third-place Jonielle Smith of Jamaica, at the London Diamond League meet at the London Stadium in London, England, on Saturday, July 21, 2018.

With the 2020 athletic season on an indefinite pause because of the coronavirus pandemic, Sprintec Track Club head coach Maurice Wilson says he is not optimistic about any financial recovery for athletes and clubs for the 2020 season.

Athletic events, including the Tokyo Olympics, which will now take place starting July 23, 2021, have been forced to be rescheduled or cancelled because of the virus. International meets such as the Diamond League have had their seasons delayed, meaning that athletes’ earnings on the circuit have been affected.

‘No Recovery For Year End’

“Well, the impact, so far, has been very tremendous,” Wilson said. “It has been difficult for us, starting from January. I think that it is something that we have accepted in terms of the athletes and earning financially that is almost a no-no,” Wilson told The Gleaner. “For the clubs who would have invested in purchasing tickets and medical, and so on, that is something that is now in the past, and I don’t see any recovery for the end of the year.”

Local meets have also been affected with the postponement of the Jamaica International Invitational Meet scheduled for May and the uncertainty that now surrounds events later in the year, including the Racers Grand Prix. Wilson says the current season may be in jeopardy, but he sees positives in the announcement of the rescheduled Olympic dates, which will give athletes a target for preparation,

“I think the motivation of knowing that they can continue to maintain their athletic shape, would make the difference,” he said. “It’s not about the money at this point but just have them to work towards something from a physical standpoint.”

Wilson says that he is awaiting word from World Athletics whether events can still take place later in the year provided that it is safe to do so.

“What we will be awaiting from them now is to see if everything goes back to normal, if there would be any meets proposed for almost the end of the year to facilitate the athletes,” he said.