Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Thompson Herah, Atkinson worried about return of sports

Published:Saturday | June 6, 2020 | 12:00 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
THOMPSON HERAH
ATKINSON
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Olympians Elaine Thompson Herah and Alia Atkinson are concerned about competing in a post COVID-19 environment.

Both athletes were speaking on Thursday during a panel discussion on Zoom hosted by the Olympians Association of Jamaica. The topic was how athletes can maintain their fitness and training during the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been a global shutdown of sports since March, but various leagues have begun to announce plans for a return to competition, with strict health protocols in place. Athletics has been affected by the pandemic with the delay of the World Athletics Diamond League season and the postponement of the year’s marquee sporting event, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, to July 2021. As countries are making plans to reopen their borders, Thompson Herah, the double Olympic sprint champion, says travel is a major challenge.

“I’m excited to be back on the track, but the main fear is just travelling, overall,” she said.

World Athletics recently released a provisional schedule for a revised Diamond League, which would begin in Monaco in mid-August and end in October.

Jamaica’s Government reopened its borders on Monday for returning residents stuck overseas because of the pandemic while international visitors will be allowed into the country as of June 15.

MENTAL BARRIERS

FINA world champion swimmer Atkinson, who already qualified last August for the Olympics, is concerned about possible mental barriers that athletes will have to overcome to return to the pool. She said that the return to competition, initially, would be difficult, and that there are no plans for events this year, but that she expects a return for athletes to earn from competition.

“There is nothing so far this year,” she said. “Next year? It’s going to be hard in the beginning, for sure, regardless. But if other people are competing, and that’s where you make your funds, I feel that people are going to show up.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com