The worst is envisaged should the many restrictions that prevent sports from taking place in a wholesome way continue for the foreseeable future.
That is the view of some key and influential members of the sporting fraternity in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
At the heart of the cause of limited sporting events are the health protocols that have been put in place to combat the threats posed by the coronavirus.
However, whilst not downplaying the need for the protocols, the officials believe that they are doing more harm than good as players are either turning to socially deviant activities or quitting sports altogether.
Head of the St Vincent and the Grenadines senior men’s football team, Kendale Mercury has admitted that he has to redouble his efforts to get players stay interested in the sport.
Mercury recalled when of one of his charges was grappling with some personal issues. “The player thought that he would have been able to handle it better and differently had he been engaged in more football”.
Mercury noted as well that there are players who have gone deeper in the use of “illegal drugs and the consumption of alcohol”, since there has been little football at the national level for the better part of two years.
“ There is a case of another player who because of the long layoff said that he never believed he would have taken hard liquor and put a cigarette to his mouth, that is the extent of the frustration facing footballers in the country”, the national football head coach lamented.
Meanwhile, head of the Taekwondo Association, Vanburn Harry while stating that his charges have not drifted to deviant conduct said many have lost interest and enthusiasm.
“ We have lost about 95% of our members since the start of the pandemic, and this is no exaggeration”, Harry related.
He pointed out that most of the members are youngsters, hence, parents initially were reluctant to have their children involved in Taekwondo so they opted not to send them to training.
According to Harry, “The situation that even when we do restart, it will be difficult for us as we will have to retrain from the fundamentals again”.
Lending his views to discussion on the protracted delay in the restart of sports, was President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee, Stephen Joachim.
Eager to see sports return to some state of normalcy, Joachim related : “It has been two years now and we need to move in a different direction … We need to get back to normal and live with the reality of life”.
Referring to some ‘disparities’ between the treatment of sports as against other activities, Joachim questioned: “Why do we have different protocols that are applied differently and sports being harmed?”
He specifically mentioned the situation regarding schools.
“How do kids get on a bus rammed on one another, but yet they can’t go and play football outdoors; how does it make sense that the kids are at school… They have break, they are all hugging each other but can’t go outside and kick a football…They cannot go and play cricket, that could not make any sense”, the SVGOC President moaned.
Joachim, in restating that the protocols are ineffective, declared: “We are hurting the young people when we lock them out of sports just like when we lock out schools, and I maintain that locking down schools makes no sense”.
These concerns were expressed following last Saturday’s forum held at Hotel Alexandrina in which affiliates of the SVGOC sought to have a common approach and response to the COVID-19 protocols and their impact on sports and society.