By Neto Baptiste
At least two of Antigua and Barbuda’s overseas-based athletes have shared their concerns over the rampant spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 as they adhere to warnings in the United States of America (USA) to avoid using training facilities and other large gatherings.
Sprinter and 2019 Sportsman of the Year, Cejhae Greene, said all training facilities are on total lockdown, while competitions have been cancelled across the US, shattering some athletes’ hopes of qualifying for the pending 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
“We train at the University of Tennessee and they are closed down. Actually, most places are closed down that have a track and they are not allowing anyone to be on there, which is a hard thing because if we are not allowed to practice, then there is nothing much we can do so we are trying to get that sorted out as well,” he said.
“We’re holding fate there is still going to be an Olympics but qualification for that has been put on halt too and actually my agent is waiting to get confirmation from a number of meets and all of the meets in the US have been put on hold because there is no mass gatherings. We were supposed to start the season next week but there are no meets and if there are no meets then you can’t qualify.”
Greene, who is yet to qualify for the games, said he has no other option but to adhere to the directions of those in authority.
“What we are doing is just listening to the authorities and listen to the information we are given because there is really nothing much more that we can do besides do what the authorities say are the best things to do to prevent or try to prevent ourselves from catching this virus,” the athlete said.
Junior Sportswoman of the Year and University of Tennessee Freshman, Joella Lloyd, said the spread of the COVID 19 has affected both her classroom and track activities.
“My schooling is affected because all classes have been moved online until April 3 after which they will re-assess the situation. Training wise, athletes from the NCAA have been asked, training wise, to stop voluntary and mandatory practices until April 15 and all of our facilities will be closed off except for our rehab center and our academic center,” she said.
Meanwhile, US-based high jumper, Priscilla Frederick-Loomis, expressed similar sentiments, stating that training facilities and gyms have been closed down due to the spread of the virus. She added, however, that she has managed to train at home in her living room, at the park, or at the beach.