Barbados Federation of Island Triathletes (BFIT) has several events hanging in the balance including nationals scheduled for October as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), says president Darren Treasure.
Two experts from Mexico and the United Kingdom were also expected to arrive in Barbados next week to conduct a session with national coaches and that has been cancelled.
Treasure told Barbados TODAY that for this year’s nationals they have been targeting participants from Canada and the United Kingdom to compete. And even though there was this cloud of uncertainty happening right now because of COVID-19, he still remained hopeful of nationals taking place.
“Our big event is our nationals and we haven’t made a decision on that as yet. We are waiting to see how things transpire over the next month or two. But we are remaining optimistic, we are realising that the event may not be as big as it normally is.
“We normally get a lot of regional visitors coming to Barbados for that event (nationals) as well as international participants. We have been particularly targeting the Canadians and the UK (United Kingdom) market to bring sports tourists here and traffic here. So, that is going to kind of put that on hold. I don’t think we are going to see as many travellers coming from abroad,” Treasure said.
In addition, Treasure added that Trinidad and Tobago use BFIT nationals as their own and as long as this year’s competition was a reality, then that would be the case again this year.
BFIT has a total of 15 events on its annual calendar and has so far completed four. The last event held was on March 15 which was a qualifier for the 2020 CARIFTA triathlon championship scheduled for September in Bermuda.
The next upcoming event for elite athletes such as Matthew Wright was supposed to be early April but got cancelled. Treasure noted that there has been no official word from the organisers in Bermuda but BFIT is expected to hear at the end of this month whether the event will come off.
“Bermuda obviously is similar to Barbados in trying to deal with their COVID issues and they are not certain whether or not in September they would be able to host the event. They basically did not make a decision yet but they said by the end of April they are going to give some guidance as to what they are thinking and what direction they want to go. But generally within the region, we are seeing most events being cancelled,” Treasure said.
The BFIT president admitted it was a challenging environment and said that they were trying to stay focused and positive. Treasure revealed that one of the impacts COVID-19 has had is on their development programmes.
“They won’t be conducted as we thought, so we probably are going to lose a bit of developmental time for some of our younger athletes. Then obviously having the triathletes in Barbados and our region being able to compete, that is not going to happen. But the impact has not been severe for us,” he said.
Treasure urged BFIT members and the public by extension to adhere to the government’s guidelines during this time. He explained that during this time triathlon athletes have been finding creative ways to train.
“We are trying to encourage triathlon athletes to train at home to their best ability. Some triathlon athletes would have what you call turbo trainers where they can knock their bikes on a stationary device and ride indoors and continue to cycle. Running is a challenge for most of them, some people may have access to treadmills at their house. Others have been doing what we call our backyard challenge where people run three and five kilometres on their properties,” he explained.
Treasure added that swimming during this time was a major challenge for most BFIT athletes except for those who might be lucky enough to have a pool at their homes.
“Swimming is very difficult obviously unless you have a pool. So without the ocean or the aquatic centre being open, a lot of our athletes aren’t really doing anything in terms of swimming. But they are dry land exercises to keep their swimming muscles somewhat fit, so that when they return to normal training they wouldn’t be working from scratch,” he said.