Sports activities and competitions can resume on June 1 in Seychelles following the restricting of such activities in mid-March because of COVID-19.
KnowAfrika spoke to the chief executive of the National Sports Council (NSC) to find out how the preparation is going for the resumption of sports next month.
KnowAfrika: Where is the national sports council on the preparation for the return of sports activities on June 1?
JL: Up to now, we have looked at all the sports facilities and the work needed to be done as per the checklist from the Department of Health. These preparations are very important and we have to ensure that after the work is done, the facilities are clean. We have to prepare all those places well before we can say to the public that we can now start using them.
What I would like people to understand is that there are two things: competition starts as of the 1st June. Since the 13th we started discussing with all federations and we told them that they can train in small groups. Some have started but they say they are not comfortable doing it in small groups. The regulations, however, say you than training can only resume in small groups.
KnowAfrika: Have NSC met with federations to ensure that they are ready for when sports resume?
JL: We have asked them to hand in their events calendar and when they are planning to resume. For example, the football federation has already confirmed that competition will start by June 22. Tennis has already communicated that they are starting training on the 25th May. We have not met all of them at the same time because their concerns are different. We are making one to one discussions. We have adopted an open-door policy where associations and federations can talk to us any time.
KnowAfrika: Is the national sports council thinking of using demarcation for the social distancing in their venues?
JL: We have discussed with some federations like volleyball where we said that we can put demarcation using stickers where people can sit. This is something we are working on and is part of our checklist.
KnowAfrika: With 10 days remaining until sports resume, what advice will you have for federations?
JL: Sports will pick up. We have gone through a bad time and this is normal since there is a lot of things happening. I know many people want to get back on the facilities especially the fitness trail. But what we need to focus on is minimising the risks and the social distancing is very important. I know we are used to just come and sit anywhere and touch anywhere. This is a process and we are learning. We will get through it so give us time to ensure that everything is in order because we resume sports activities.