Let aquatic athletes train, ASA says

Photo by mali maeder from Pexels

The Aquatic Sports Association has appealed to the health authorities to allow athletes and waterpolo players to return back to training in a statement on Monday.

On Monday, the government announced that individual non-contact sport may resume from Friday.

ASA noted that the government started easing some restrictions on commerce, provision of health services and travel to Gozo on May 4.

The association complained that since the government imposed restrictive measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus within the community, athletes were left to fend for themselves and find alternative training methods, noting that restaurants while restaurants were allowed to operate as take-away outlets, catering establishments in any sports facility were stopped from operating.

ASA underlined that for most clubs, most of their revenue was from such catering establishments. The revenue generated would be used to employ professional coaches and pay wages to some of their athletes. Sports organisations have had their funds truncated, the association said.

ASA said that in recent days various reports showing persons walking, jogging and lately even on the beaches were published on social media. “This is allowed as long as social distancing is observed”. It noted that the hunting season was allowed to go ahead.

“Unfortunately, all athletes have been ignored. One would assume that athletes form a great part of the healthiest people and yet their need to train, practice their sport and keep in shape was disregarded.”

The association asked why the respective associations and federations could not be entrusted with organising training sessions for their athletes which respect the measures in place.

ASA has an international protocol in hand which is adapted to the current situation. It said that it was awaiting the go-ahead from the health authorities to implement it once the pools were reopened.

“Once this pandemic is over and all returns to normal, our swimmers and water polo players, like all other athletes, will be expected to pick up where they left off. They will be expected to perform at the highest level possible disregarding the fact that having been inactive for such a long period will have adverse physical and mental repercussions,” ASA said, highlighting a number of limitations which condition the performance of athletes in Malta.

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