2 Seychellois Olympic qualifiers resume training
Govinden and Passon who are both Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year 2019 have qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The two Seychellois athletes who have qualified for the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo, Rodney Govinden and Felicity Passon, have resumed training locally while awaiting confirmation of intensive international training.
Govinden, a sailor who was the first to ensure his spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and Passon returned to Seychelles last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summer Olympics had been scheduled to take place in Japan in 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19. It's been rescheduled for this coming July and August.
Govinden, who was the island nation's sportsman of the year in 2019, booked a place in the Games for the second time in October 2019 after winning a gold medal in the African Laser Championship in Algeria.
|Govinden said that with the gradual removal of restrictions he has resumed training locally. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
He told SNA that although he was training physically he only resumed training in the water last week.
"With the gradual removal of restrictions, I restarted my training in the water last week. I will gradually increase my training frequency on water and I am aiming at three to four times a week and keep on training physically in preparation for the Olympics," said Govinden.
Passon was the second Seychellois athlete to qualify for the Games in February last year after she finished first in her heat for the 200m backstroke in 2 minutes 13.94 seconds Grand Prix swim meet in Durban, South Africa.
She told SNA that she started training for the Games last year "but then we had the restrictions on movement. I now have permission to use the swimming pool and I am training on my own with the assistance of my coach in the United States who is assisting me with my daily programmes. I am still training hard to ensure that I am ready."
Although local training has resumed, both athletes are concerned about the intensive preparation they need and high level competitions that are currently not taking place.
|Passon said that she now has permission to use the swimming pool and is able to train locally. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
"Definitely the preparation locally is not at the level I would like because before COVID I took part in many competitions through which I could test my level. Now with the pandemic situation, it is difficult and I am not getting any competition since last year when I returned to Seychelles," said Govinden.
The Seychellois sailor was on a busy European schedule which he had meticulously prepared with his coach Miguel Andrade at the Viana Sailing Club in Portugal but had to cut short his training camp in mid-March last year when it was announced that the Summer Olympic Games had been postponed due to COVID-19.
"I am not sure when I will be able to travel. If I do travel I will be joining my team in the US in Arizona. I was due to leave in December to go back to University to continue my studies and swim with my team but this did not happen," said Passon.
At present, no decision has been taken on the international training camps and Alain Alcindor, Secretary General of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (SOCGA), told SNA on Friday that he expects to get feedback next week.
"Next week, we will know if the whole budget of what we have asked has been approved or only part of it," said Alcindor.
He confirmed that both athletes have submitted their international training plan but this will depend on the financing available.
Alcindor said the discussion will also be done on what will happen to the other six athletes on the Olympic solidarity scholarships and these are high jumper Lissa Labiche, sprinters Ned Azemia and Dylan Sicobo, windsurfer Jean-Marc Gardette, judoka Nantenaina Finesse and boxer Keddy Agnes.