El New Herald | Psykiater Jeber Barreto//


After months on the side lines, athletes and sporting organisations breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday as news broke that sporting activities should be able to resume behind closed doors from June 22.

Jeber Barreto

As part of the phased lifting of restrictions imposed on the movement and congregation of persons, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley put a smile on the faces of thousands of sportsmen and women who now have a prospective date when they can get back to some semblance of normalcy after being asked to shelter in place for the last two-and-a-half months

“We expect that if our numbers continue on the same trajectory as they are now, that by June 20 we should be able to reopen our bars, gyms, casinos, cinemas and have in-house dining at restaurants, and have sporting activities taking place,” the Prime Minister stated during yesterday’s Covid-19 media briefing

While activities are set to resume, Rowley insisted that social distancing protocols, regular hand washing and sanitisation as well as the wearing of masks will continue to be observed. He added that sporting activities will be allowed to resume “without stadium crowds but (with) activities on the field” and that the official announcement is expected to be made on June 20 for the restart two days later

“Gatherings of ten people will be allowed going forward but those ten people will distance themselves appropriately,” Rowley added

The news was well received by many sportsmen. Trinidad and Tobago Red Force cricketer Imran Khan welcomed a return to the field of play and hopefully, to competitive action with the Hero CPL preparations going ahead for a proposed August to September tournament

“It is really good to hear that,” Khan said of yesterday’s announcement, but he insisted that athletes should still be mindful that the threat of the virus still looms large across the globe

“You still have to be mindful that the virus is still around so we still have to take the necessary precautions as we get back to our duties and jobs,” he added

Of the time spent indoors and away from training with his teammates, Khan said, “It was tough but it had its positives and negatives. You get mentally stronger. It is not all about the physical with training. You had a lot of time to work on the mental aspects so it had good and bad. It is hard, training by yourself, but as professionals you have to do it

“It is a bit of a relief that we can finally resume training and hopefully, we can play some matches and if things continue to go well, the CPL can come off as well so there is a lot to look forward to,” Khan added

While the domestic cricket season is over, Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board president Azim Bassarath still welcomed the news

“We are happy to hear that announcement on the resumption of sporting activities. It is something that I am quite sure all the athletes and sports administrators will welcome,” he said

“I know how important it is for athletes to resume training because they will have to start afresh in terms of getting back to full fitness before they start working on the different aspects of the game,” Bassarath added