Fraser-Pryce makes the case for the resumption of sports in Jamaica

By February 13, 2021

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, in her first public comments on the indecision to resume sporting activities, has moved to dismiss recent suggestions that the authorities should hold off on granting permission to prospective promoters of sporting events applying to the Director of Sports in the Sports Ministry with a view of having their events held.

Her decision to make her views known comes in the wake of an opinion put forward recently by opposition spokesman on health Dr Morais Guy, who says he fears that giving the go-ahead for the resumption of sporting events could cause a significant rise in the number of Covid-19 infections across the island.

“In light of the new spike in numbers, I would recommend that caution be taken to hold off for some time longer. With the current numbers and the resumption of sporting [disciplines] in whatever form there is, the likelihood of a greater spread considering the numbers we have now, plus the interaction of players with each other and the community,” Dr Guy told the Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica has recorded close to 2000 new cases in recent days prompting Prime Minister Andrew Holness to announce new restrictions on movement across the island, especially at night.

However, Fraser-Pryce, who is preparing to compete in her final Olympic Games this summer, believes such a move is not progressive and said as much in a lengthy post on her Facebook account on Saturday.

“I note that there has been some push back 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,” said Fraser-Pryce who has yet to open her season because of the cancellation of several track and field meets in recent weeks.

“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.

“While I do not wish to make a political statement, from a point of view of good sense and logic, the perspective that the process established, whereby permission for the holding of sporting events should be suspended, is a perspective not shared by the majority of invested parties.”

The four-time world champion and national 100m record holder argued that there is no evidence that sporting events that 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 added that she does not believe it is beyond the country to separate elite athletes and limit the number of competitors for each track meet while at the same time allowing for some meaningful resumption of events.

She cited the Velocity Fest meets held at the height of the pandemic last year when no athlete who participated tested positive for the virus.

“We should build on this and pave the way for more sporting events to be had in a safe manner,” Fraser-Pryce opined, adding that the reluctance to resume sporting events is having deleterious effects on athletes and sporting organizations.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

She said that while she is aware of the risks associated with competing while the pandemic stiff rages, Fraser-Pryce noted that athletes competing in a controlled environment are safer than those going about their regular daily pursuits. 

“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 said.

“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.”

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • 'I will be the first of many' - Olympic qualifier Benjamin convinced Jamaica can become force in skiing 'I will be the first of many' - Olympic qualifier Benjamin convinced Jamaica can become force in skiing

    Historic Jamaica Alpine skier Alexander Benjamin believes the country possesses the attributes to produce top-quality skiers on a consistent basis and hopes to be the first of many.

    At 38 years old Benjamin made history for the Caribbean country to qualify for the Alpine Skiing event at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.  He is, however, the second skier behind Errol Kerr who competed in Freestyle skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics and finished in 9th position.  Kerr’s finish is the best placing by a Caribbean athlete at any Winter Olympics.

    Despite the fame garnered from the 1988 Winter Olympics four-man bobsled team, immortalised by the cult classic Cool Runnings, it is the Summer Olympics that have been the forte of the Caribbean island.

    Led by Jamaican track and field legend Usain Bolt Beijing was a happy hunting ground for the country’s Olympic team in 2008, where they claimed 11 medals.  While Benjamin won’t necessarily expect that type of success, the newly minted Olympian believes there is plenty of talent to harness.

    “What my story is all about is encouraging the next generation of Jamaicans to start before 32, so that we can have a real chance at medaling,” Benjamin told the SportsMax Zone.

    “I’ve already identified three Jamaicans in New York, started skiing when they were less than two years old, and they’ve been race training for the last 10 years.  So, they’re now 14 years old and these guys are going to come with force when we get to the 2026 Games,” he added.

    “I think that we can get a really strong ski team from the pool of talent we already have in Jamaica and the diaspora.”

    Benjamin has targeted being actively involved with the Jamaica Ski Federation (JSF).  Richard Salm the former president of the JSF died of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident last year.

     

     

  • JOA Building Coaching Capacity JOA Building Coaching Capacity

    A record number of coaches, who were last year registered by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) for a rigorous hi-level coaches' course hosted by the Pan Am Sports Organization (PASO), successfully completed and are on course to achieve international certification.

    Coaches from several sports including handball, badminton, judo, taekwondo, gymnastics, baseball, chess, volleyball, lawn tennis and track and field, completed, over six months, seven modules covering areas such as Coaching Philosophy and Leadership, Advanced Performance Planning, Energy Systems and Physiology, Strength and Conditioning, Sports Psychology, Advanced Injury Prevention, Recovery Strategies and High Performance Analysis.

    "Capacity, capability and competency are the three Cs in the educational trilogy of the JOA's empowerment agenda for our coaches who are really the starters, drivers and finishers of the assets of sport development which are our athletes" President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, commented on the success of the initiative.

    Participants across the spectrum of sport have lauded the initiative as "groundbreaking and a step by the JOA in the right direction."

    Ryan Foster, Secretary General/CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association, was pleased with the level of support from the sporting federations and remarked "the response to JOA's call was deafening as it was instructive and demonstrates that coaches want to be and have become a part of the transformation being led by the JOA."

    The JOA last year inaugurated its historic, "Olympic Scholars," an athlete scholarship grant, under which several persons benefited from financial assistance in academic and career pursuits. "This is money giving currency and value to athletes and this is an investment the dividends of which are capitalizing sport and the human capital" Foster said.

    With a strong bi-lateral partnership with the United States Sports Academy (USSA), a strategic alliance World Eleven Inc and the Argentine Football Association and protocols of co-operation with regional and international stakeholders, "the JOA is instilling a culture of excellence in sport education and bringing the sciences and technology of sport into the equation of success." Samuda remarked.

    The JOA will later this year make a call for another coaches' hi-level course and it is expected that it will be oversubscribed as stakeholders in the sporting sector continue to seize opportunities which the governing body is creating.

  • No fans allowed for Reggae Boyz upcoming home matches against Mexico, Costa Rica No fans allowed for Reggae Boyz upcoming home matches against Mexico, Costa Rica

    Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will once again be without fans for upcoming home World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica as the government looks to put measures in place to combat the recent spike in coronavirus cases.

    The country has played the majority of its matches behind closed doors, so far, with the lone exception being its last match against the United States, which allowed for 5000 vaccinated spectators to be present.

    With 15 more COVID deaths, 1,548 new cases, and a positivity rate of 51.5 percent, as of Tuesday, however, the Government has decided to return to closed-door measures.  The Reggae Boyz have been the only team in the octagonal round that has been affected so severely by coronavirus restrictions, with many other teams sticking to the practice of limiting the numbers of fans allowed at the venues.

    Jamaica, however, has the lowest vaccination rate of all the countries participating in the qualifiers with just 557,000 persons fully vaccinated, representing just 20.4 percent of the population.

    The Reggae Boyz will be hoping to make a late run to book a place at this year’s FIFA World Cup having found themselves well off the pace midway through the qualifiers.  The team is currently 6th in the standings on 7 points, seven short of the final qualification spot.  The team will kick off the next round with a match against Mexico on January 27th, followed by a trip to Panama three days later and a home fixture against Costa Rica on January 30.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.