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Sports people get back on track to fitness

Stephen Ignacio

Sports people started to see the first stages of a return to some sporting activity yesterday as the doors opened to facilities such as the 25m swimming pool and the Victoria Stadium’s running track.

With facilities closed since the weekend of March 14 due to the spread of Covid-19, this Thursday signalled a return for some to a semblance of normality as doors opened for practice and training for clubs and associations whose permits had been approved by the GSLA and Public Health.

GSLA swimming pool facilities’ manager David Ochello confirmed that already three associations had been approved to resume single lane training at the 25m pool.

Each association had been required to present their own protocols and measures for the use of the pool.

“Only on approval of these would associations be allowed use of the pool,” Mr Ochello said.

The first associations to receive permits were GASA, Triathlon and Tarik Waterpolo.

But even with permits, the associations had other restrictions in place with only senior members allowed to use the facilities, this limiting GASA to just their senior squad for now.

The single-lane restrictions meant activities such as waterpolo training are for now just based on physical swimming practice.

Similarly, athletics was due to open the gates to the Victoria Stadium running track as we went to press.

In the same way as swimming, each club must supervise their own athletes and maintain social distancing guidelines which restrict the use of the track to just lanes one, three and five.

Today the Gibraltar Sandpits tennis and paddle club facilities are expected to open as from 11am to members who have booked allocations.

The club had obtained permission to start on Monday but was forced to delay after the authorities realised that the resumption of activities conflicted with the law as it stood at the time.

The relaxation of the rules to allow sports’ clubs to reopen only comes into effect this morning.

The club is still awaiting permission to use its gym and has put in place strict hygiene and protection procedures for use of its playing facilities.

Lifeguards kept on training

Yesterday also saw what were described as “now fully qualified lifeguards” operating under the Department of Environment as they continue with their final preparations before they take on their roles at local beaches and bathing facilities.

The young teenagers were practising at the 25m swimming pool where they have been able to keep up their training during the lockdown to prepare for the official bathing season.

Although the training programme is usually conducted at sea, the lockdown has prevented them from following the same annual programme.

As one official pointed out, with the lifeguards provided an “exemption to train at the GSLA swimming pool” they have been able to get through most of their training programme but “under chlorine water conditions rather than sea water conditions.”

Social distancing policies were being fully adhered to as they trained yesterday within their individual single lanes and under strict instruction.