Sports

Athletes encourage the public to stay home

Joining in the fight against COVID-19, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has created a four-minute long video featuring Bahamian athletes with a message of hope, gratitude and proper protocol.

The short clip, which has been shared on a number of social media platforms, features amateur and professional Bahamian athletes, past and present. Making an appearance were former World No. 1 doubles player Mark Knowles, women’s professional tennis player and The Bahamas’ No. 1 female tennis player Kerrie Cartwright, judo athlete Andrew Munnings supported by his brother Aaron Munnings, Olympic bronze medalist Leevan ‘Superman’ Sands, elite collegiate athlete Devine Parker, Olympic relay gold medalist Ramon Miller and fellow ‘Golden Knight’ Chris ‘The Fireman’ Brown and two-time Olympic Champion, the retired Pauline Davis-Thompson.

National Director of Sports Timothy Munnings said the purpose of the video was to thank the dedicated healthcare workers and first responders for their sacrifice in an attempt to keep the citizenry healthy, to heighten the awareness of the coronavirus pandemic and its danger to the various communities in The Bahamas, and to stress the importance of following the guidelines and protocols of health and government officials.

“We just want to encourage everyone to adhere to the rules that the Government of The Bahamas has put forward and let us all try to overcome this pandemic together,” said Munnings. “We thought that by utilizing various athletes, this message would reverberate throughout the community and cause the general public to take interest. We have to follow the guidelines by staying at home and adhering to social distancing if we want this thing to be over and done with and behind us. The sooner we follow the proper protocol, the sooner we will get back to the way things used to be.”

Munnings said that this pandemic has certainly been a challenge for the sports fraternity in The Bahamas. All sports have shut down, leagues have ceased operations, seasons have halted, and a number of athletes have returned home. Even team practices and gathering of teams have stopped. Given the nature of sports, and the resiliency of Bahamians in general, Munnings believes that it won’t be long for order to be restored, sports in particular, following the passing of the pandemic.

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge for us. I’ve spoken to a number of the federations about how sports could resume going forward when this is over and done with. For team sports in particular, it’s going to be a gradual process for us because that will involve close contact. The minute we get the green light, we are going to work on getting back to where it used to be. I don’t think it will be a problem with getting the interest level of sports up again because sports is that one item that could bring a nation together. We are all anxious to get out there and resume sporting activities,” said Munnings.

At this time, there is no telling when sporting events will resume in the country. A number of athletes have already shut down their seasons and are doing light workouts at home while others are working out extensively at home in hopes of competing at some point this year.

“It’s extremely frustrating for all of us,” said Munnings. “The first level of disappointment for us was when we had to shut down the National High School Track and Field Championships and then it just continued from there. We want people to stay physically active but be safe while doing so and adhere to the order of staying home. There are a number of ways to stay active at home. Right now there is a level of uncertainty for when the programs will resume, but my recommendation is for the athletes to remain positive and remain encouraged and try to maintain a certain level of fitness.

“Sports is ready to rebound. Life will be different but we are driven and we will bounce back. This is not the first crisis that we are going through. When you look at Steven Gardiner, his family was affected with the passing of Hurricane Dorian last year and he went out there and won gold at the world championships, so while we might be down for a moment, sports will rise again. We will get through this together.”

Munnings thanked all of the present and former athletes who were a part of the short clip, expressing gratitude to the front line workers and stressing the importance of social distancing and staying at home.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the globe. There is now over two million cases worldwide and over 130,000 deaths. Up to press time last night, there were 53 cases in The Bahamas and eight deaths.

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