The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is not only affecting the way athletes are training and preparing for a now-postponed Olympic Games, but the coaches and staff members who also contribute to a potential Olympian’s success are feeling the burn across all of sport.
In Hong Kong, for example, a survey found that 67% of coaches throughout the sporting community lost 100% of their income because of the pandemic and resulting aftermath.
To assist financially, the South China Morning Post reports that ‘under the government’s second round of its HK$137.5 billion relief funding announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Wednesday, a HK$7,500 ($967 USD) one-off relief grant will be offered to each coach registered under sports associations and organizations who have a proven record of coaching over the past year. An estimated 17,000 coaches will benefit.
Although thankful to receive something, 3-time Olympian-turned-trainer at Tai Po Swimming Club Sherry Tsai Hiu-wai says the contribution is merely a drop in the bucket for coaches struggling to scrape together a livelihood in the current circumstances.
“I would say the amount is better than nothing,” said Tsai. “After the closure of public and school facilities, many swimming coaches, especially those working at teaching level, have no income at all.
“No one can survive with only that amount of money. But we also understand there are limited resources and you cannot ask the government to pay every coach who has been affected by the pandemic.” (South China Morning Post)
Looking to the future, however, Tsai vocalizes her desire for governments to take a look at how lessons can be learned going forward in times of crisis.
She said, “The government must learn a lesson because similar virus attacks may occur in the future and hopefully there will be better ways of dealing with it and not just closing all the sports facilities. In the meantime, we can only hope for the end of the pandemic as soon as possible so that business for everyone can return to normal, including sports coaches.”