Sport Ireland had a busy day yesterday communicating good news and then a stark reminder of the seriousness of the Coronavirus.
Speaking yesterday morning John Treacy told athletes via an interview on RTÉ Radio One that all those who were on the carding scheme of payment to athletes would remain so until the Tokyo 2020 Games took place.
A sum of €2.43 million was divided among 116 athletes on a two-year cycle running over 2019 into 2020. The news yesterday confirmed that this would roll over into a third year for each of the athletes.
Athletes coming into contention and securing a place at the Games in whatever new round of qualification emerges from the Olympic Task Force meeting for the first time today will be added to the mix.
Later in the day, there was a letter sent out to all those on the Sport Ireland Institute mailing list which advised caution when maintaining fitness and asking athletes to do their best to avoid injury at a time when the health service is under such pressure.
It also highlighted the fact that the two spikes in positive results from testing for the virus were in the 25-34 and 45 to 54 age groups in which many of the athletes and the backroom teams would be.
A sobering reality in times of great stress and for a group of our elite athletes for whom health and fitness has long been the primary motivator in their lives.
The decision that athlete funding would be protected into 2021 is a welcome one. Whether sporting bodies will be able to rely on a similar level of support given the economic chock that will inevitably follow on from the health one is a matter of concern but that is a concern over which Sport Ireland and the National Governing Bodies have little control over at present and which will only become a priority once the current bigger issues have played out.
Image credit: Inpho.ie