Fencing president laments on postponement of season

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Fencing Association, Kelesha Antoine.
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By Carlena Knight

With the 30-day ban continuing on all domestic sports and participation of teams in overseas meets, various associations have shared how much of an impact it has on their daily operations.

The ban was first implemented about a week ago by the Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, following the revelation of the first confirmed case of coronavirus or COVID-19 on the island.

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Fencing Association Kelesha Antoine was the latest to speak on the matter.

She said that although the postponement has caused a number of activities to be scratched off their calendar, athletes still remain in good spirits as they have found alternatives to keep them active.

“Actually, around this period we would have athletes going off to World Junior Championships to a camp and then starting competition, so that has been postponed as well. Then in April in Panama we would have had Olympic Qualifiers for this region so those were the two activities that we would have been looking forward to. But obviously, with everything being postponed, what I have done is send some training videos for them to do at home as well.

“I was in contact with one of the athletes and he says he has just been doing his footworks and so on, so I guess they have been coping well.”

Antoine joins Cycling President St Clair Williams and a few other heads who agreed that the ban was indeed necessary as safety must come first. She revealed that although the sport requires their athletes to be covered in a mask and body armour, they too were at risk and had to implement precautions.

“Well, before the time the minister made the comment of teams not being able to travel and that we should actually stop all sporting activities, we had to consider as well because in our case where there’s masks and other equipment involved and not having enough as well there were times when the athletes themselves were actually sharing. At those points in time we had to be teaching them how to sanitise and so on and we just stopped it completely because the sharing issue as well is actually a big problem. So we just basically ceased all of the training that was happening on Mondays and Tuesdays and Saturdays and with school now being closed, the school that we were in [we] also had to stop as well.” Antoine made these comments on the Good Morning JoJo Sports show earlier this week.

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