(Montreal) Summer promises to be difficult for tennis players, soccer players and swimmers. In one week, outdoor sports facilities were closed twice in several municipalities due to poor air quality in Quebec. A logistical challenge for sports organizations, which say they are monitoring the situation “day to day”.
“This is a very concerning situation for us. We watch it go, then honestly we have “flashbacks” of the pandemic, ”says Elom Defly, director of communications and marketing for Soccer Quebec.
Last Sunday, the smoke generated by the forest fires in Quebec degraded the air quality in several regions of the province, forcing the closure of sports facilities. Again this weekend, smog advisories are in effect for many areas.
The fires will likely continue to wreak havoc for several more weeks, if not all summer.
“Considering the poor air quality currently prevailing throughout the province, Tennis Quebec recommends that its members and all tennis players follow the instructions that will be issued by Public Health and the instructions in place issued by the various cities and municipalities, “said Tennis Quebec in a press release on Friday.
“This situation complicates the life of our clubs, our regional associations, and our managers,” said Defly. Soccer Quebec estimates that during the summer season, 1,000 soccer matches are played every weekend across the province. It is therefore necessary to reschedule hundreds of matches on a day when the grounds are closed, specifies Elom Defly.
“Rescheduling these games requires finding time in an already hectic schedule and then securing parental cooperation,” he says.
According to Mr. Defly, “it is certain that there will be financial losses” due to the cancellation of many games. For example, if a soccer team from the South Shore of Montreal is on its way to a match in Quebec City, and the match is canceled in the meantime, the team may not be able to get their transportation reimbursed.
According to various sports organizations, it is difficult to plan measures to mitigate the possibility of poor air quality.
“It’s brand new for everyone it affects,” said Isabelle Ducharme, general manager of Sports Quebec, the organization that is putting together the Quebec Games, which will take place July 21-29, in Rimouski.
Last Sunday, major sporting events were canceled due to poor air quality: the Mont-Tremblant Ironman, and the Montreal Triathlon.
However, the Jeux du Québec have not planned a plan in the event that the air quality is poor during the event. Isabelle Ducharme clarified that the situation is being assessed “on a case-by-case basis”, and that decisions will be made to ensure the safety and health of young athletes.
“It’s really day to day, it’s impossible for us to project ourselves further in time,” Elom Defly also said.
“We will follow public health recommendations according to advisories for each region throughout the summer and adjust our activities and events accordingly,” said Réseau FADOQ, which organizes various leisure activities for seniors. , in an email sent to La Presse Canadienne.
On Friday, a competition organized by the Quebec Swimming Federation took place at the Jean-Drapeau Park swimming pool. The start of the events was delayed to late morning, since the pool had been closed by the City of Montreal due to poor air quality.
“We are thinking about the future of our competition here at Parc Jean-Drapeau for the years to come,” said Francis Ménard, general manager of the Federation, in an interview.
The organization is considering whether reserving an indoor pool could act as a “plan B” in the event that the pool at Parc Jean-Drapeau is closed.
“But it can still be expensive for a plan B, often they will charge us even if we are not present in the pool. So these are both monetary and logistical questions that will arise for the years to come, ”says Mr. Ménard, saying that this year is one of “learning”.
However, he believes the impact on swimming clubs will be “minimal” this summer, because the volume of activity is “reduced” in the summer, and many competitions are held in indoor pools.