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New rules in place as recreational sports return

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KITCHENER —
It’s game on for recreational and amateur sports across Waterloo Region.

Athletes were allowed to return to play this week as part of Ontario’s move into Stage 3 of its reopening plan. But, getting back into the game comes with a new set of rules.

Ultimate frisbee player Andrew Fors was happy to be back on the field Wednesday.

“Just to be outside is great,” he said.

The pandemic put organized play on pause.

“It was a shame,” Fors said. “It was hard to find other activities that were a bit more physical.”

During Stage 2, teams could hold practice and do drills, but not play against each other. For volleyball players, that meant no spiking or blocking.

Under Stage 3, there can be games with fewer than 50 players split between the two teams. Equipment needs to be cleaned before, during and after each game.

“They got fresh frisbees that they swap in and out, just so they keep them fresh and sanitized,” Fors said.

There are also no hand shakes or high fives allowed.

“Find a new way to cheer,” said Trevor Shelly, general manager of KW-Cambridge Sport and Social Club. “Clap above your head, sing a song, but it is about making sure there’s no physical contact.”

The club has also made the decision to cancel playoffs and championships.

“It’s not really about winning,” Shelly said. It’s more about encouragement and “getting out and getting active.”

The club said it’s happy to welcome people back, even if this year looks a bit different.

“We have 250 to 350 teams playing with us each season,” Shelly said. “Obviously, this summer it’s a little less, it’s about 200.”

Anyone who couldn’t play or didn’t feel comfortable coming back, but already paid, can get credit for future seasons.

“Our motto right now is, we’re ready when you are,” Shelly said.

Players are screened before they hit the field. Masks aren’t necessary during play, but can be worn if athletes prefer.

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$1.5M relief funding now available to B.C. community sports clubs

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Community-based sports groups at risk of closing due to COVID-19 can now apply for aid from the province’s $1.5-million Local Sport Relief Fund.

The province says the pandemic has “profoundly” affected people in the sports community, with many local sport organizations facing extreme financial pressure and risk of insolvency due to the loss of registration fees, event revenues and sponsorships.

The fund will help those local clubs – such as baseball, soccer, gymnastics and swim teams – pay bills, society dues, salaries and maintenance fees as they prepare for an eventual full return to sport.

“For many athletes and families, local sports organizations provide the important physical, mental and social benefits sports offer, which we need more than ever,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

“This funding will help local organizations so they can continue to support children, families and our communities with healthy activities.”

The application process is open until Oct. 16, 2020.

B.C. moved into Phase 3 of ViaSport’s Return to Sport plan last month, which includes modified games and matches, and league play and competitions within sport cohorts.

As of Sept. 15, 67 sport-specific plans had been completed by provincial sport organizations, with 26 being updated for Phase 3 of returning to sport.

In all, more than 500,000 British Columbians are now able to return to sport, according to the province.



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Coquitlam Express set to launch extended exhibition season

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The new coach of the Coquitlam Express, Dan Cioffi, will be able to put the pylons away beginning Oct. 2.

The Express will host the Langley Rivermen at Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex at 7 p.m. It’s the team’s first of 18 exhibition games that are part of the BC Hockey League’s extended training camp schedule leading up to an anticipate resumption of a regular season beginning Dec. 1.

“We believe it’s important to have our players play meaningful games during this extended period before the start of our regular season, in order to stay engaged and game-ready leading into December,” said BCHL executive director Steve Cocker in a press release.

The Express will play all of its games in a regional cohort that includes the Rivermen, Surrey Eagles and the Chilliwack Chiefs. Spectators will not be permitted. Similar cohorts have been established for the rest of the league as well.

On Sept. 11, the BCHL announced plans to forge ahead with its 2020/’21 season even if ongoing public health regulations to control transmission of the COVID-19 viral infection won’t permit fans in arenas. Teams in the Tier II junior league rely on ticket revenue, in addition to corporate sponsorships, to cover their operating expenses.

Instead, the league said it could implement a play-to-play model that would require its players to pay a fee to secure their position. Such fees are common in the lower tiers of junior hockey, like the Pacific Junior Hockey League.

The exhibition opener between the Express and Rivermen will be a rematch of the teams’ opening round series in last spring’s BCHL playoffs. Coquitlam, which finished atop the regular season standings, dispatched Langley in four straight games. The post-season was then cancelled because of the public health crisis.

Click here to see the whole exhibition schedule for the Express.

© Copyright Tri-City News



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Tarundeep Rai looks to end on a high | More sports News

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KOLKATA: Tarundeep Rai remains the rare Indian sportsperson whose preparation for the Tokyo Olympics has not been affected much due to the pandemic. The recurve archer decided not to return home and stayed back at the Army Sports Institute in Pune where the national camp resumed this month.
“I have a kid (son) back home, so returning was a bit tricky when the country went into the first lockdown. I didn’t want to carry the virus for my family,” the archer was quoted as saying during the lockdown period.
While everyone left the camp in March-end, the Olympian spent time in dry practice along with focusing on fitness aspects.
The Arjuna award winner planned to retire after the 2020 Olympics, but now with the Tokyo Games being pushed back to 2021, he decided to extend his stint for a year more.
“I want to give my best shot at the final goal of my career which is winning an Olympic medal for the country,” a determined Tarundeep told fellow Indian archer Atanu Das during an online interaction.
“It’s tough time for me and my family. I must have spent only around six months with my son, who is eight years old, due to my training schedule,” Tarundeep pointed out. “But I have told my family that I will return home with the (Olympic) medal only,” the army man said.
“I lost almost 20 kgs in the last two years,” he said. “I am not growing any younger, but now am feeling much like the 2003 Tarundeep when I first got into the Indian side,” he stated.
The 36-year-old, who has already secured a quota for India at the 2021 Olympics along with Atanu and Pravin Jadhav, still could not forget India’s elimination against Japan in the first of the elimination round in 2012 London Games.
“Japan rallied to take the match to tie-break after we were leading 4-2. In the last set, I hit one shot at 8. Given a chance, I would have liked to convert that into a 10,” Tarundeep, who took part in 2004 Games too, stated.
With no international or domestic competitions scheduled in the near future, the Sikkim archer agreed that it’s difficult to keep the focus. “It’s always better to have an objective in front. But I understand under these unusual conditions, we need to just keep practising hard,” he said.

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