British Columbia

Don't expect games or competitions anytime soon, says B.C.'s return-to-sport plan

For the foreseeable future, sport will be more geared toward community participation and training, says the document released by Via Sport and WorkSafeBC.

New document says sports will be geared more toward community participation and training in the coming months

Canadian Olympic champion Erica Wiebe, top, wrestles with B.C.'s Justina Di Stasio in the 2018 world championships qualifying tournament. (Michael P. Hall/Wrestling Canada)

Anyone hoping for a normal summer of organized sport for themselves or their children will find little in the way of hope  in B.C.'s just released return-to-sport guidelines.

"For the foreseeable future, sport will be more geared toward community participation and training rather than games and provincial competition," says the document issued by Via Sport in conjunction with WorkSafeBC.

The 35 page document talks broadly about risk and health and safety concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic as they might apply to sports organizations — things like hygiene, distancing, equipment, facilities and even insurance. 

The guidelines are aligned with the four phases of the B.C. restart plan and are meant to be used by individual sports organizations in planning what activities they might be able to offer and how.

Tyler McLean, who works with aspiring Olympians as Wrestling B.C.'s provincial development coach, says all sports are in the same boat, trying to figure out how to keep athletes engaged with no competitions on the horizon and nothing specific to train for.

"It's tough," he said. "Kids want to wrestle but you can't do it alone in your living room."

As a contact and indoor sport, McLean says wrestlers can't even think about returning to sparring or competition until Phase 4 of the B.C. restart plan kicks in, the timing of which has yet to be determined.  

B.C. is currently in Phase 2.

"Phase 4 is when we can start the long road back to where we can wrestle again," he said 

B.C.'s return-to-sport guidelines are aimed at provincial and community sports organizations that are planning how to resume activity in the time of COVID-19. (CBC)

Like most coaches and athletes, he and his charges are being creative — doing mental training, video study and posting footage of their home workouts — all in an effort to maintain some sort of engagement.

Outdoor, and non or low contact sports may be a little more fortunate in that they can take advantage of having more room for physical distancing, less likelihood of coronavirus transmission and fewer touch points.

Some of the suggestions for sport-specific modifications include:

  • For team sports: training in small groups with a focus on drills.
  • For contact sports: use of non-contact skills training in small groups or shadow sparring.
  • For facilities: using side by side courts or lanes of sheets of ice, limiting the number of people and creating a directional flow of traffic.

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