Sigma provides blueprint to resume sport
It is nearly a year since most sporting activities in Jamaica have come to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That halt almost came to an end two weeks ago when Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in a broadcast to the nation, stated that his government was ready to give the green light for the respective sports to resume competitions. But he reneged on that promise as there was a dramatic increase in the number of daily coronavirus cases.
However, the successful 23rd staging of the Sagicor Sigma Invitational Run yesterday provides a glint of hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Despite a truncated event, an excellent job was executed to show that sport can resume once strict protocols are adhered to.
The man behind the successful staging of the event is veteran road race organiser, Alfred 'Franno' Francis, who had to call on his years of experience to make the staging a success. "The planning for this year staging of the Sagicor Sigma Run was a challenging one as with the COVID pandemic, we are in extra-ordinary times when it comes to the whole protocol. To get everything right and approved by the various ministries we had to really reach out," said Francis.
He pointed out that they had to set an example for others. "We want to set an example today to persons that we can conduct sporting event under strict Covid pandemic. We wanted to show persons and institutions of government like the ministries of sports, local government, health and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) that it can work," continued Francis.
Because of the great importance of the Sigma Run, all steps had to be taken to make it happen." With COVID now there are greater needs and we are a charitable organisation as over the years some $500M has been given to needy charities and our team was more determined than ever this year to make things happen. "Our team, Running Events and Sigma, stuck to the strict protocols of COVID and we had a fun and wonderful event. We are able to get a 100 per cent support for people to wear their mask, observe social-distancing and regular sanitisation," he said.
Francis is hoping that their example will become a blueprint for others to follow. "I am hoping that our protocols can serve other organisations and we are willing to share these plans so we can get back sports on top with strict protocols of COVID.
"The athletes were very disciplined as at the start they were placed six feet apart in rows of four and spots were marked on the ground for them to stand as the result in the end was based on net timing, and they all stuck to the instructions," he stated.