With the world facing the nightmare of Covid-19 (coronavirus), two of T&T’s top sporting personalities plying their respective trades professionally abroad, Olympic-bound Teniel Campbell and footballer Levi Garcia, shared on Saturday how the pandemic have affected during an on Isports on i95.5fm with host Andre Errol Baptiste.
Twenty-three-year-old Campbell is in Italy, which has recorded the most deaths (over 5,000) thus far, riding professionally with UCI Women’s Continental Team Valcar-Travel & Service while Garcia, 22, is in Israel playing with Beitar Jerusalem.
“For the moment, I am fine,” said Campbell calmly. “Things are continuing to change on a daily weekly basis, thus finding structured times are a bit difficult. Limiting my time on social media is still a priority, as seeing too many stories on the coronavirus is not so good for my mental health so this has been helping me to cope with the circumstances at hand, however, I am still aware of everything that is going on to an extent.”
She is adapting as best as can be in a country where as of Saturday, the death-toll had spiked to 4,825.
“So far, so good but it is a constant challenge. Races are continuing to be cancelled thus uncertainty continues to rise, with respect to when we will be allowed to race. Apart from that now, there is starting to be a debate as to whether or not the playing field will be fair as in some countries cyclists are allowed to go outside and train and in some others it is prohibited regardless of your athletic status,” said Campbell.
“But as I said before, the less I see is better for my brain, for the moment. I am trying to protect my mental health, as well as trying to stay as healthy as I can be while doing my best to maintain fitness and acting accordingly to the rule.”
Last year, Campbell copped silver medals in both the Road Race and Time Trial at the Pan American Games held in Lima, Peru. She remains focused and continues her relentless drive to keep improving.
“A couple days ago, I was practicing a schedule but then, I just decided to stop. Instead I chose to allow my body to wake up on its own, especially when I do not have training outdoors, time tends to go by quickly this way,” said Campbell, who finds entertaining ways to pass time daily.
“I start my day with breakfast, training on the ergo, then there is gym depending on the day. If I am not training inside and training outdoors, I have more time, so I try to make new dishes,” she said laughingly. “Improve my Italian, watch a little documentary, read a little book or socialise with my family.”
“Trini” food love, is on the mind of young Campbell who added: “I could honestly do with a good homemade roti, pholourie, barbeque, pelau, some of my uncle Frank fish broth. I am having a lot of ‘Trini’ withdrawal when it comes to food, home-cook food especially.”
Campbell is the first T&T cyclist to ever qualify for the Olympic Games but she is cautious looking ahead to Tokyo 2020.
“I prefer not to comment on the Olympics, this is for several reasons. I have already qualified a spot for T&T but there are still athletes in some sporting disciplines who have not, due to their Olympic qualifiers being postponed, regardless of the decision of the Games not being cancelled or if it so happened to be cancelled, it will have an effect on all,” declared Campbell.
With Italy under so much pressure with the virus Campbell sees the situation as frightening.
“Seeing everyone with their masks and gloves, also the public behaviour, when they see us riding on the roads, sometimes it can be very scary and a bit nerve racking. Recently I also started seeing some hearses from time-to-time, when I go outside to train, then there is also an ambulance which I constantly hear when I am in my room.
“Apart from that, eating too much on slow days, especially when I’m bored and my mind becomes overwhelmed, I tend to munch a lot more than usual in these times. However, despite all of this, going on around me and in these unfortunate circumstances, I do have a psychologist on standby to guide me in finding the best solutions with any problem, I may have,” said Campbell, thanking everyone for their support and advised them to be safe.
Leading T&T footballer, Garcia was also featured on the programme and he too admits that his is doing well under the circumstance.
He said, “Everything settled, it is just that, with precautions and everything they put the football on a pause for a while and everyone is just inside, no more than five people together. We have our separate programmes so we putting in the work so until everything clear up, everyone is inside. I am inside but everything is fine, family is good.”
Garcia, who is highly regarded as one of the faces of this country’s future in football, misses family and his T&T meals but knows this is the sacrifice as a professional.
“In an time like this, I miss the food, miss my family, everyone but you know, I am on a mission so basically, it is a sacrifice. For sure food is most important thing at the moment, being just home most of the time and staying fit, same exercises, a lot of core work, road runs at the moment because the fields are not really clear at the moment to train on; a lot of sprints more so,” said the 22-year-old, who wishes everyone to be safe and secure in T&T.
“Keep praying and do the correct thing as required.”