GOA to athletes/coaches: ‘Get vaccinated’


By Akeem Greene

The Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) is encouraging all athletes and coaches, who have intentions of going to the Olympic Games in Tokyo from July 23 to August 8, to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

GOA Vice-President, Dr. Karen Pilgrim, said while it not a necessity that athletes be vaccinated, she advised on Saturday that it is the sensible thing to do to further safeguard one’s self and others.

“I know there is a lot of resistance still in Guyana and around the world on being vaccinated, and we can’t force anyone I suppose, but we are really urging all athlete and officials for your own safety,” the Vice-President expressed.

Dr. Pilgrim, who is also a Doping Control Officer, said all athletes competing for Guyana through the GOA are required to do Anti-Doping Education within the year of competition.

She advised all athletes, coaches, and support personnel that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s online platform, Anti-Doping Education and Learning (ADEL), has a multitude of courses, some of which specifically target the Tokyo Olympic Games which they must complete.

Guyana Olympic Association Vice-President, Dr. Karen Pilgrim

Additionally, GOA Treasurer, Garfield Wiltshire, indicated that the International Olympic Committee has taken some initiatives with Pan American Sport Organisation.

“They will give funding of up to [US]$500 for any athlete who can get to Miami; they will administer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which is one dose, but the requirement is that it is administered 30 days before you go to Japan.”

Wiltshire further indicated that persons can also go to Huston, Texas, where the vaccine will be administered at the airport and one can return to home territory immediately after.

The GOA Treasurer explained that all National Olympic Committees who will attend the Olympics are now mandated to have a COVID-19 Officer, and in consultation with the Guyana Physiotherapy Association they have identified Angelica Holder to perform the dual role.

GOA President K.A. Juman-Yassin also encouraged all athletes and members of the sport fraternity to get vaccinated.

Rosie MacLennan, a Canadian trampolinist, who won gold medals at the previous two Summer Olympics, was quoted in the New York Times as saying: “The more athletes who are vaccinated at the Games, the safer it’s going to be for athletes, officials, the Japanese community, and also our respective communities when we come back home.”

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