Gerald Donn, chairman of the West Coast District Sport Federation, says his region has been hit harder than most by the national lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 virus.
West Coast is one of the districts of the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation (WCPSC) and it stretches over five local municipalities: Swartland, Bergrivier, Matzikama, Cederberg and Saldanha Bay – a vast demographic area.
According to Gerald the federations feel the effect of the lockdown and the subsequent countrywide ban on sporting activities. He says because they service such a huge demographic area staying in touch was difficult.
He says feedback from the federations indicates that they are struggling but each federation tries to stay active and try to devise their own plans. The lockdown hit team sport particularly hard, as members have to train on their own.
Individual sports, such as chess, are luckier in the sense that they can have digital online competitions that they organise themselves.
The big challenge for West Coast, according to the president, is the fact that in some areas there is not network connection. He says they are not as fortunate as their counterparts from the city who have access to fibre.
Many of the West Coast members do not even have access to ADSL and when it comes to downloading videos, documents or photographs the costs are exorbitant.
So, telephone calls, e-mails and WhatsApp messages are the means of communication for Don and his administrators.
But that does not mean athletes are not active. Athletes who are involved with team sports have turned to recreational sports to keep busy while the athletes from the fishing factories are still busy working as they are an essential service and that makes exercise difficult.
The window period of 6 – 9 am allowed for exercise by government is a welcome relief measure for athletes, but Gerald was worried that a lot of people are abusing it.
He reckons people are disobedient and that the complacency of people in the West Coast District would cost them dearly in the long run, as nobody knows where the virus hides.
People do not practice social distancing and he gets the impression they think they are immune to the virus. That is why the West Coast District Sport Council tries to motivate people to adhere to the regulations issued by government, as prevention is better than cure.
Gerald says they take their cue from the government, Sascoc and the WCPSC and his message to the sporting fraternity is to be obedient, stay home and be safe.