It was like a Christmas morning for the children, Monday, when some athletes have finally returned to their areas of training at the national Institute of sports (NSI) the province of Quebec.
Members of the national teams of judo and diving have pushed a door that was closed since the march 14, because of the pandemic of the COVID-19.
When public health authorities on Friday announced that the complex of the olympic Park could reopen, the new one has blown the frustrations accumulated by the sporting elite of Quebec during the last three months.
“A little positive, it’s good for you “, confessed the judoka Antoine Valois-Fortier, contacted by The Journal after you have reconnected with that which serves virtually second-residence.
“The social aspect, and this is what I missed the most. I train alone in my basement, I found it hard on the motivation. Even if I practice an individual sport, training with a team is much more fun, ” says the bronze medalist at the London olympic Games.
This first phase in the recovery of the business leaves us still far from the buzzing own to the INS, with its 350 users daily from 10 sports residents (boccia, boxing, fencing, gymnastics, judo, swimming, swimming, artistic, speed skating, short-track, diving, and water polo).
Only individual workouts are allowed until further notice.
The dojo, the boards for the sports contacts and the basins for team sports remain closed.
Athletes who follow the judo and scuba divers, over the next few weeks, will be subject to strict health rules : questionnaire at the entrance, wearing a mask, washing of hands, no personal effects left in the locker room and on the outskirts of the training area, two meters of distance, weight training equipment disinfected after the passage of each group, etc …
“We began planning this operation of re-opening it has been almost two months,” explains the president-director general of the INS, Gaëtan Robitaille.
One-quarter of the sixty or so employees laid off at the beginning of the pandemic have taken their functions to the INS, a sign that the sport begins to move.
Even without indexes the part of the international sports federations on new schedules of competitions, the athletes from quebec, back in their lair of the olympic Park can now hope for a normal life.
“I was eager to walk on the trays. I just saw the judo athletes in the preparation room for physics and they had all the big smile. Able to regroup, even if it should remain at two metres distance, it is different to be on Zoom. In sport, yes, performance counts, but it is a lot of human relationships. Now that one is able to find it, even in different conditions, it is very appreciated for the mental and social health of the people, ” said Gaëtan Robitaille.
“In the middle of it all (the containment), there was not much light at the end of the tunnel,” remembers Antoine Valois-Fortier, currently fifth in the world in the olympic rankings in the category of -81 kg.
“It was not the end,” he said. The sports events were all cancelled, it is sure that it has affected the motivation of everyone, but me, I’ve always kept hope that the olympic Games will take place in 2021. I kept it in mind and that is what motivated me. “
The Institut national du sport (INS) in Québec, located in the olympic Park of Montreal, was inaugurated in September 2014. It offers on-site training plateaus for its 10 sports residents and provides services medico-athletes to the athletes of the olympic and paralympic sport.