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Apr 30, 2021

Athletes May Resume Training in Some Disciplines

They have been asking for it, and this weekend, many Belizean athletes will be able to resume their training for competitions. But no tournaments can be held just yet, there are certain restrictions, and the new regulations do not cover recreational sports.  But it is a positive development after so long.   New Five’s Paul Lopez spoke with to the Minister of Sports, Kevin Bernard about the latest S.I.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Members of the athletic community can now breathe a sigh of relief. On Saturday May first, a Statutory Instrument will come into effect allowing for the phased reopening of non-contact sports for training purposes. News Five spoke to the Minister responsible for sports, Kevin Bernard, about these latest developments.


Kevin Bernard

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Youth, Sports and E-Governance

“The Ministry of Sports has been lobbying for some time to try to get sports back on track. We know that our COVID numbers were down for some time. And, we have seen a little spike. But I think it is also on a controllable pace, and that gives us a little bit of relief. We are going ahead with our plans as agreed with the various sporting associations so that effective May first, I believe the S.I. should be coming out sometime today.  When it comes to contact sports, I want to make it absolutely clear. There is a list of contact sports in this country will be allowed for training purposes only for the next three months. So, we are opening contact sports, but for training only. And it can only happen within the same organization. You cannot say team A is going to train against team B and you are from two different associations; that won’t happen. Team A must split itself into two or three and train themselves.”


Non-contact sporting athletes will now be allowed to host and participate in competitions, but only in the absence of an audience or fans.


Kevin Bernard

“Over the next month’s three to six we are saying after we monitor the progress then we open up contact sports for competition without spectators as well. For the first six months we can’t have gatherings, we can’t have audiences and so forth. We must be innovative and maybe look at technology and allow people to joining virtually. So, the organizers of these events may want to attract a virtual audience, similar to what is being done in other regions. And then after month is completed, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and our ministry will do another review, a comprehensive review, to see if there were any issues related to COVID matters, related to sporting activities. Should there be any spike in cases we will have to close back sports down.”


And while recreational sports enthusiasts may want to dust off those football pegs and basketball jerseys to begin play on the nearest community playground, the Minister of Sports is saying, not so fast.


Kevin Bernard

“One concern however that has been raised through the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sports is the fact of recreational sports. I understand we would want to see our children going out and play in the backyard and neighborhood parks, but that is a bit tricky. We are going to be looking at that. We had made an agreement that we would have brought back recreational sports, but we are kind of pulling back that one a bit because it can somewhat be a spreader. So, we want to ask people to understand, to bear with us.”


Paul Lopez

“Just to be clear, the football fields in the community, community basketball courts, they are not open for recreational sports at this time?”


Kevin Bernard

“That is the position, recommendations that came to us. And of course, to also look at the matter of policing these things. What we do not want is for people to say oh we are practicing, and then it is not, they are using the recreational advantage, but at the same time say we are practicing and that is not the case. We know who are, and that is why there is a register that will be required for those teams involved and are registered with the NSC.”


According to Minister Bernard, sporting associations and organizations in contact sports disciplines who will train during this period must be registered with the National Sports Council of Belize.  Reporting for News Five I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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