While they have seen the return of sports around the world, with and without fans in most cases, local sporting bodies are trying to find out exactly when they can resume their activities.
Mario Bowleg, president of the Bahamas Basketball Federation, said sooner rather than later, the Bahamas Government will have to realise that sports will have to resume in the country, with or without the fans.
He is calling a meeting of the minds to try and find the best solution to manage the way the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic in a sporting setting.
“While all leagues and associations would like to get some type of normalcy back and begin playing sports like they are doing in the United States, either in a form of a bubble or without fans like football and other sports, it’s just a wait-and-see game as to what this government will do,” he said. “I understand that they want to flatten the curve, but at the end of the day, we have to lie with this thing. This ain’t going nowhere. We just have to make up our minds how best we are going to deal with it within our sporting programme.”
Sporting activities in the country were halted in March when the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture was forced to call off its National High School Track and Field Championships at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
Since then, the Bahamas Government has called for all activities that drew any large gathering to cease as well. All sporting facilities were subsequently closed.
Periodically, during the phased opening of the country, parks and beaches were allowed to open, but all sporting facilities are still closed, including gymnasiums, spas and weight-training facilities.
Bowleg, whose federation had to pull out of preparing its boys and girls teams for an inaugural skills competition that was being staged by the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA), the governing body for the sport around the world, said life has to go on and the country has to live with this virus.
“We just have to find a way to control it in the different sporting disciplines they are playing in. I don’t think that would be a difficult thing to do. We just need the Competent Authority (Prime Minister Hubert Minnis) to give us the okay to proceed. “We just need to get back to doing the things that are important to us and I’m not just talking about sports, but high schools when the students return to the classes. So sports has to get back on track, all sports. We must commence playing as they are doing it in the United States. We need to get rolling.”
Not to mimic what is being done in the United States, but Bowleg said basketball is staging a successful bubble with the National Basketball Association, and the American Football League and Major League Baseball are playing without fans.
The International Tennis Federation as well as World Athletics has resumed with competition as they are slowly getting back to some sort of normalcy, but Bowleg said they are hoping that there will be some provisions made for the return of sports in the country. He noted that there were some discussions by some of the sporting bodies to engage in meetings with the proper authorities, then they can chart the way forward.
“Life has to go on and we have to look at ways to control how we deal with this COVID-19,” Bowleg stated. “I think all sporting bodies would like to resume competition, even if they have to do it without any fans.”