This country could end up with a backlog of events when the coronavirus pandemic is over, and it will be the headache of organisations like the Sport Company of T&T (Sportt) to fix a chaotic calendar.
Chairman Douglas Camacho is already bracing for it, so much so, that the Sportt Company has been in touch with National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) throughout the last few weeks since non-essential services across the country, have been shut down.
However, post-pandemic is when the real work will begin. While all sporting facilities have been on lockdown as the country seeks to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Camacho has given his assurances saying, “We have told the NGBs that as soon as it is possible to open back up and allow the athletes to commence training that they could do so.”
Camacho also added that the current downtime affords the Sportt Company a chance to carry out refurbishment work that has long been delayed.
He said, “It will be an opportunity to maybe to do some work on facilities that we would formerly have to shut down physically to be able to do. Now, they’re shut down anyway, it is an opportunity to plan it that way and before we fully open back up we will address first and do the remedial work.”
The great challenge, however, is how Camacho and his team will deal with a clustered calendar when the deadly outbreak is all over. Not only will NSOs be seeking the use of facilities but athletes who are training ahead of the postponed Olympics will demand time and space for practice.
The Sportt Company is also preparing for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) which T&T will be hosting between August 1-7.
Camacho told Guardian Media Sports, “As I say, the ones with the biggest challenge will be the domestic competitions, Commonwealth Youth Games, the master’s swimming, the international hockey tournament, all of those things that were planned in 2021, how will they now be affected by 2020 events that roll forward?” The CYG 2021 is scheduled to run concurrently with revised Tokyo Olympics next year which takes place from July 23 to August 8.
“If they have to shift the date, we have to know relatively early,” the chairman said.
Scores of events have already been pushed back from the first half of the year, like the Carifta Games which was originally scheduled for this weekend.
Camacho says because of the age restrictions on some of these junior meets, the organising bodies should consider raising the age limit by a year to facilitate those who will be ineligible because of where their birthdays fall.
“With regards to the locally intended events, that is a different story. That will be dependent on when things go back up locally, regionally and internationally. Maybe a good example would be the two Carifta Games," said Camacho.
"I think both swimming and track were hoping they would reorganise the Carifta Games for the summer period. Whether that will happen now is a little bit too early to pronounce. It would seem unlikely but not impossible.”