Covid-19 Update 21st April 2020

The Government’s announcement yesterday to move from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 was a positive step in New Zealand’s journey to deal with the global Covid-19 pandemic.

 

We all find ourselves in a situation I don’t think any of us could have predicted a couple of months ago and our sympathies and thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones or who have family currently sick.

Unfortunately, the wider fencing community has not been spared with a number losing their battle against the virus overseas.

In New Zealand, we were training, coaching, officiating and volunteering and then everything stopped.  Some of our younger athletes were preparing for the Asian and World Cadet and Junior Championships, our Seniors Olympic qualifiers and our vets, the Commonwealth Veterans Championships in Canada, all of which are now postponed.

Who would have picked two months ago, the Tokyo Olympics would be postponed?

Locally and in line with the Government and Ministry of Health guidelines, we put all fencing activities on hold until further notice when the country went to Alert Level 2.  This was the right call however only a matter of days later New Zealand went to Alert Level 4.

The good news is the steps taken by us all (apart from a few) seem to be working and the Board is turning its attention to what the fencing year looks like and when we can resume fencing.

Unfortunately, the move to Alert Level 3 means all fencing activities continue to be suspended.  The Board has also confirmed the Presidents Cup, scheduled to be held 4 / 5 July will be postponed until further notice.

The Board along with the FeNZ Medical Officer Dr Steve Fish, will continue to monitor the situation but we all need to accept the return to full fencing activities is some way off.  The Board is considering options for a phased return as the country moves down the alert levels.

What this looks like we do not know at this stage, but it could see the return to one on one coaching, providing the recommendations are followed, before clubs and local competitions resume.

With the recommendations on social distancing and travel, it is unlikely National events will be possible until New Zealand has removed all restrictions.

We are expecting further announcements from the FIE on the global situation, however, with international travel restrictions likely to be in place for some time, it is hard to see international competitions resuming anytime soon.

In the mean time I would encourage you all to keep whatever physical training going within your bubble and have a look on the Internet, there are a lot of fencing related activities you can try, again within the safety of your bubble.

It just leaves me to say stay safe, look after the ones close to you and be kind to those not so close.  Keep your fencing gear in good working order in anticipation of the fencing year starting again, when New Zealand has this thing beat.

Mark Rance

President Fencing New Zealand