Athletics to join golf and tennis in reopening facilities

Athletics to join golf and tennis in reopening facilities

Athletics clubs can open their outdoor facilities to runners from next Monday, but only those living within 5km may attend.

The sport has been permitted to join golf and tennis among the first sporting organisations returning to "limited activity" under the government's roadmap to lift restrictions.

Runners must train either individually or in groups of no more than four people, where social distancing can be maintained and where there is no contact.

A recent study demonstrating a large increase in the number of people walking and running in the last two months was part of the rationale for opening outdoor athletics facilities, according to Athletics Ireland. Indoor facilities are not permitted to reopen at this stage.

“It is a privilege for us to be one of the first sports returning to club activity and with this privilege comes a great responsibility to ensure all our clubs and members operate to the highest standards of compliance to prevent the further spread of Covid-19,” said CEO Hamish Adams.

“This is the first small step on our journey to return to full activity, we continue to plan and prepare for competition and events from August onwards subject to government directives.” 

Adams told the Irish Examiner last week that the proliferation of joggers shows a potential demand for participation events and an increase in club membership post-lockdown.

Basketball Ireland, meanwhile, continues to liaise with Sport Ireland with the aim of issuing a return-to-competition date as soon as possible to facilitate clubs' planning.

Basketball is part of phase 5 of the government’s roadmap, with a potential return date of August 10.

The governing body has been developing a framework for new training plans and competition formats.

“The board is now using these [government] guidelines to plan for a return to basketball, and this plan will comply fully with all government and HSE guidelines," read a statement.

“As such, the board recognises that Basketball Ireland prides itself on being an innovative organisation, and we are already putting a framework in place for new training plans and competition formats, should these need to be activated as the situation continues to change.

“We recognise that it is important for players and officials of all ages to know a date for return to competition, so that clubs can begin to prepare. We will provide this as soon as possible.”

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