There is a high probability that the National Senior Games scheduled to begin on June 1st could fall victim to the novel Coronavirus (Covid 19).
A decision on whether to postpone the annual sporting event that provides an opportunity for senior citizens in Barbados to compete and have a day of fun is expected to be made over the weekend, says Dr Jacqueline Wiltshire, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs.
As the world faces a global pandemic of COVID-19, the elderly appears to be the most vulnerable and with that in mind Wiltshire said the Ministry will consult with its stakeholders to make a final decision.
A press conference is usually held to announce plans for the senior games, but given the situation of COVID-19, it is unlikely that would take place. Over the years athletics were the main feature of the games but in recent times there have been some new additions such as squash, road tennis, lawn tennis, dominoes and draughts. There are a total of 15 sporting disciplines.
“As you know everything is on hold until further notice but of course we had started our planning but that is all dependent on circumstances which were very much unforeseen. So, right now we are just waiting to see where this COVID-19 crisis takes us and I am sure we will keep everybody updated on what the decisions are.
“A lot of people look forward to it (senior games), they train and everything. But this is a population that is very vulnerable; the elderly are the most vulnerable population so we also have to look at their health and security,” Wiltshire said.
“The press conference wasn’t nailed down but we are going to wait and see what the weekend brings before we make any definite plans about that. And it (senior games) would be postponed most likely rather than cancelled altogether, but we have to go back to the stakeholders. We would still have to go back to them (stakeholders) to see when a good time will be… But if we are to postpone it that is something we will have to take back to the stakeholders.”
Many local sporting organisations such as the Barbados Cricket Association, Barbados Netball Association and Barbados Football Association, have postponed their seasons for the time being. Major sporting events such as the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championships, and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup Qualifiers between host Barbados and Guyana have also been suspended.
Even though the senior games may be postponed, for the time being, national athletes 50 years and over may still get a chance to compete later this year at the Huntsman World Senior Games scheduled for October in Utah. This is providing that COVID-19 subsides and the allclear is given for our seniors to travel.