Student athletes speak on impact of Covid-19

(l-r) Arlene Josiah, Tatiana Drew, Malique Jarvis and Nia Coates were all featured on the Good Morning JoJo Sports show last Friday. In the picture with them is co-host and producer of the show, Neto Baptiste. (Photo courtesy Carlena Knight)
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By Carlena Knight

With Covid-19 impacting so many aspects of today’s life, three student athletes shared their experiences on how they are coping.

Malique Jarvis, Tatiana Drew, and Nia Coates — three footballers who received scholarships last year through the Freekick Foundation — spoke of their personal experiences on the Good Morning JoJo Sports Show.

Drew, the former Princess Margaret School (PMS) student and national female player, explained that due to her attending school just this year in January, the virus caused her to miss out on the training experience of college life at Bethany College.

Coates, a former Christ the King High School (CKHS) student, spoke of her difficulties with online classes since leaving North East College prematurely in March.

Jarvis, the Clare Hall Secondary School (CHSS) graduate, however, shared that he welcomed the new experience despite difficult times at Bethany.

“Well, in terms of sports COVID kind of messed up a bit. We had to cancel our Spring semester season but in terms of school, I won’t say it actually affected me but kind of helped me in a way because it gave me the experience of online classes. I never really did online classes before. It was kind of tough but still a good experience.”

All three students revealed that they are eager to get back to school in the US but are uncertain if they will be able to return at the end of the month.

This sentiment was echoed by one of Antigua’s Freekick Foundation’s officials, Arlene Josiah.

Josiah mentioned that although some contact has been made, a lot is still up in the air.

“The Covid has messed up a lot of it. They are supposed to be back there in August, but we haven’t heard anything yet with what’s going on from the schools. We were trying to reach out especially to Bethany, but we haven’t gotten any word yet,” she said.

Josiah, an executive member of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association, also revealed that due to the financial restraints caused by the virus, those students who would have been offered scholarships this year may not receive any funding.

“We have another set that went to Jamaica for a tryout, but there won’t be any funding for them but those that are already away they will still get their funding. Because of the Covid issue the government decided not to do anymore athletic scholarships for the new ones; they are only dealing with if you are studying in Cuba or UWI,” Josiah shared.

Despite it all, the students gave some encouraging words to the newest crop of student athletes. All three footballers advised the students to not only be ready physically, but also mentally, and to find a balance between sports and academics.

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