Road Racing Becomes Latest COVID-19 Casualty

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Only two of the five races in the 2020 Hautville 5K Series were held, before organizers called off the series because of COVID-19

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

On Friday, May 22, the Hauteville 5K Series became the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, when organizers pulled the plug, after completing just two of the five races in the series. The prize money will go to BVI Hands Free according to Road Racing Director Kay Reddy, also the Hautville Director. 

Katrina “Kat” Lindsay and Reuben Stoby have been declared and women and men’s champion.

What happened along the way?

Let’s do some recapping 

An exciting 2020 season was just heating up. Things were falling in place. Volleyball returned. Softball was about to come back on March 21—the first season since the last pitch on September 3, 2017. Athletes were qualifying and fine turning for the April 11-13, Carifta Games in Bermuda. 

Then came news that World Athletics was cancelling its March 12-14, indoor championships in Nanjing, China, because of the coronavirus, COVID-19. Eldred Henry would miss his chance in this competition. But that was far away. In China. No effect on us.

The Hauteville 5K Series began its tour stops around Tortola, with races in Road Town, then Carrot Bay and would be followed by one scheduled for Beef Island on April 3. Jermaine “JJ” Ricketts was emerging the leader with two victories in two races and Katrina “Kat” Lindsay, was on the road to a successful title defense. The March race would be the last in the series. 

Elmore Stoutt High School held their inter house athletics competition, so did Seventh Day Adventist, St. Georges, Virgin Gorda’s Bregado Flax Education Center and Anegada’s Claudia Creque Educational Center. 

Primary Schools across the territory had their inter house sports that culminated with the reformatted Digicel Inter Primary Championships.

Then the Combined Virgin Islands—a team of players from St. Thomas, Tortola and Virgin Gorda—handed defending champions Royal Knights their first loss of the season—winning by eight wickets. 

It would be the last sporting competition played played within the territory’s borders.

By then, the spread of COVID-19 had begun engulfing the Caribbean. Then came the announcement from Premier Andrew Fahie, that a series of measures were being implemented to prevent the virus gaining traction in our shores and gatherings would be limited to 30 persons. He also announced that the 49th BVI Spring Regatta—for which 89 boats had already registered to ply our waters March 30-April 5–will be postponed.

A day after, the April 11-13 Carifta Games in Bermuda–the 49th edition–was cancelled.

Plans for the March 21 opener of the BVI Softball Association League were postponed and Cricket suspended its T20 League as well as Volleyball, Football and the North Sound Basketball Association’s Winston Jackpat Memorial League. 

Then, the K&J 3 on 3 Tournament and Clinic were postponed, followed by organizers of the April 18, KPMG Tortola Torture. The Virgin Islands Archery Association—scheduled to host the Caribbean Development Championships (CDC) May, 7-11, postponed the event.

In between all that, on the eve of the event in which Kala Penn, ranked No 10 was scheduled to compete in the Triple Jump and athletes were warming up, the NCAA cancelled its Indoor Track and Field Championships and its outdoor season. Venues were closes, other collegiate competitions cancelled and athletes planning to make their outdoor debut, were left on the sidelines.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games—the last competitive hope starting July 24—began a domino effect, with Canada, Australia, Great Britain and others pulling out their athletes. The International Olympic Committee later postponed the event to 2021.   

Locally and overseas, all we can do is wait for the pandemic to run its course. One thing’s for sure, 2020 will go down as the year a virus shut down global sports.    

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