By Neto Baptiste
The National Olympic Committee (NOC) will this year, pay homage to the thousands of frontline workers across Antigua and Barbuda during the staging of its Olympic Day activities to be observed on June 26.
This is according to President of the NOC, EP Chet Greene, who said this year’s celebration will take a virtual route as they observer social distancing protocols.
“As you know we always celebrate on the Sunday closest to the official date, but this time around we will be celebrating on a Friday because we are going virtual due to social distancing policies. So there is no grouping up and teaming up of families and sports groups and associations … and the focus for this year would be a toast or recognition to our frontline workers,” he said.
Greene believes the move will also bring two major sectors of the population together for the first time, as they unite in common cause.
“The easy way out would have been to just not recognise it, and so that’s why I think that our decision to recognize the front line workers is novel. It is one that every Antiguan and Barbudan should identify with and it is not very often that you have the sports fraternity intermingling or marrying or doing anything with the medical fraternity or other frontline sectors in terms of immigration, customs and the likes,” he said.
The president added that the June 26 observation of Olympic Day, will involve past and present athletes and will also see the distribution of shirts to over 500 individuals.
“There will be some pre-recorded messages. We will have from the sporting world, from government, former athletes both home and abroad, and especially those who are bound for the Games in Tokyo, giving messages of support solidarity and encouragement to our frontline workers,” he said.
“There is also the tradition of printing the Olympic Day shirts and let me thank one corporate sponsor [Cool & Smooth] who has made 500 shirts available to us and the rest of the shirts, to date, are being done at the expense of the Olympic Committee so we may not be able to give shirts to all of the frontline workers,” he added.
Olympic Day will fall on June 23 this year but will be observed three days later. This is to allow for participation on a national scale while maintaining the required social distance.