How some sports are restarting in Windsor-Essex amid pandemic

The pandemic may have cancelled many sports this year but some in the region are restarting with safety measures put in place.

Organizers say it's important to keep youth physically active and healthy

Shushinkan Karate's outdoor class sizes are limited and students are nearly two metres apart. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

The pandemic may have cancelled many sports this year but some in the region are restarting with safety measures put in place.

For months, students at Shushinkan Karate have been attending classes virtually due to COVID-19, but now that the entire province has transitioned to Stage 2 of reopening, the karate school is holding in-person classes outdoors. 

Class sizes are limited and students practice roughly two metres apart.

Ali Awad, the head instructor and owner of Shushinkan Karate, said he hopes these outdoor classes will help students with integrating back to work and regular life.

"Our youth need to know how to deal with a new norm," he said. "Being confined at home for the last three months is difficult. Remaining healthy is very important for everyone."

Ali Awad is the head instructor and owner of Shushinkan Karate. He says it's important for young people to stay active. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

One of his students, Saumya Buch, said while classes are much different than the ones he's used to before the pandemic, it's a relief to be attending classes in-person again.

"What we did before was online classes through Zoom and things like that, but it was very difficult to get the exact techniques," he said. "So having these in-person classes, we get the techniques down. We learn what we need to improve on a little bit better."

Saumya Buch has been a student at the school for eight years, and has enjoyed being able to have in-person lessons, although they are very different. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Another student, Batoul El Sayed Ali, said the outdoor classes are great despite there being "a lot less people and a lot less interaction."

"I'm not as close to my friends, I guess. When it comes to partner training, ... we're not able to do the techniques," she said. "[We're] doing it from a distance, which is a little more difficult to sort of get the techniques and what you're actually supposed to be doing. We're trying our best."

Batoul Al Sayed has been a student at the school for 10 years. The new outdoor classes are very small, she said. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Awad said the continuation of online classes and the integration of outdoor classes ensure students remain physically active and healthy.

He hopes to eventually open up classes again inside his studio as outdoor classes are dependent on good weather conditions.

Golf is another competitive sport that will resume during the pandemic, though courses have been open for a few weeks now. 

The 2020 Jamieson Junior Golf Tour kicked off this week, but it will operate differently this year.

Dan DeMarco, the tour director, said safety precautions and protocols have been put in place.

"Nothing is to be touched. The flag sticks remain in place, there's little devices in the holes so you just use your putter to pop the ball out of the hole. There are no lakes in the bunkers. There's no water on them," he said.

"So, it essentially is 100 per cent touchless golf."

The 2020 Jamieson Junior Golf Tour kicked off this week, but it will operate differently this year. (Getty Images)

He also said maintaining physical distancing is "fairly easy" given the large golf course and spectators are not allowed.

"I think people during this whole time of the pandemic are looking for safe outlets and you see a lot of young athletes who obviously can't play baseball, they can't play soccer, they can't play hockey," DeMarco said.

"So, if there is an athletic endeavour they can conduct very safely, then I think it's important that they have some activity that they can go to."


Tahmina Aziz


The CBC's Tahmina Aziz currently reports out of Windsor and Toronto for TV, radio and web. Have a story? Email Twitter: @tahmina_aziz


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