By Akeem Greene
Like so many other things, sport has drawn to a standstill around the globe, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here in Guyana, almost all the associations have suspended activities due to the threat of the virus, since up to March 20, Guyana had five confirmed cases, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
Given there is no known timeline as to when normalcy will return, athletes are left on the fence as to their preparedness for high-intensity sports.
It means staying fit, despite the crisis, is of optimum importance and, according to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Gordon-Boyle, athletes can still train, but they must be mindful of the safety protocols.
“We have not shut down Guyana, so persons can still go and exercise, but avoid crowded areas; so if you are exercising in open air or on the seawalls and their very few other people nearby, you should be okay.”
Recently, World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe admitted some athletes may be at a disadvantage because of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Evening Express, Coe has held discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as they attempt to remain on track for the scheduled start of the Olympic Games on July 24, but has acknowledged that may leave athletes from countries hit by COVID-19 later than others unable to compete on an equal basis.
Great Britain’s heptathlon World Champion, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, is among a number of athletes to question IOC advice to prepare “as best they can” amid ongoing restrictions affecting their training schedules.
Dr Gordon-Boyle added, “We are not saying don’t exercise or don’t walk on the streets at this point, and this is simple because at this point we don’t have local transmission, [however], should the epidemic change and we have proven cases of local transmission, the guidance might have to change.”
Guyana Jaguars Physiotherapist Neil Barry Jr. noted in his tips to athletes: “Self-train. Several countries have advised closures of gyms and with good reason. Keeping public gatherings to a minimum are proven ways to slow the spread of viruses such as these. This does not have to spell the end of your strength training.”
Barry Jr added, “There are hundreds of exercises out there (many of which can be found on YouTube) to safely build strength using just your body weight or minimal equipment. Now would be a good time to bring out your resistance bands and other portable exercise tools, but also setting simple targets like getting in 100 push-ups and 500 abdominals per day are still highly beneficial.”
In an effort to help in the fight against the virus, several of the major gyms, including Space Gym, Fitness Paradise, Buddy’s Gym and Fitness53, have temporarily closed their doors.