Many of Western Australia's elite athletes have now returned to training in preparation for next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Following strict protocols in accordance with current government guidelines, the first phase of the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS)'s return to operation is now in place with elite swimmers resuming training at HBF Stadium yesterday thanks to the strong support of venue operator VenuesWest and the Western Australian Government.
WAIS has received an exemption from the Closure and Restriction (Limit the Spread) Directions (No. 2) made under the Emergency Management Act 2005 (WA).
The first phase will see the return of the most elite athletes from swimming, athletics, water polo, wheelchair basketball and artistic swimming to swimming training and one on one training for athletics and wheelchair basketball.
Outdoor training in rowing, canoe and sailing is also resuming.
All activities will be strictly controlled and be conducted within all COVID-19 Government guidelines.
Athletes and staff will be required to complete an online education program and before each session will also be required to complete a questionnaire and have their body temperature recorded.
There will be an increase in cleaning, no physical interaction between athletes or sharing of equipment and social distancing protocols will be in place.
The Institute's resumption is consistent with the recently released National Return to Sport Principles and Framework for Rebooting Sport.
Commenting on the return to training, Western Australian Sport and Recreation Minister, Mick Murray stated “we want to see all sport back up and running and this is another small step in that direction, but we all need to continue to do the right thing so we can take further positive steps."
VenuesWest Chief Executive, David Etherton added “this is such wonderful news for our athletes, high performance sport and a number of our high-performance venues.
"VenuesWest is excited to welcome back a number of WAIS athletes and Olympic squad swimmers to commence training at WAIS High Performance Service Centre, HBF Stadium and WA Athletics Stadium this week, the first of many steps back to recovery.
"VenuesWest prides itself on championing the dreams of our athletes by promoting high performance sport and facilitating pathways to sporting success such as the Tokyo Games."
High performance swimmers in South Australia have also returned to training, with their peers in Queensland, NSW and Victoria looking to follow.
The restart of elite swimming will follow the Australian Institute of Sport’s recently released Australian Institute of Sport's Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environmentguidance and in accordance with each state’s own decisions.
The AIS has made it clear in its communication with all sporting organisations that any “decisions regarding the timing of resumption of sporting activity must be in close consultation with Federal, State/Territory and Local Public Health Authorities. The priority at all times must be to preserve public health, minimising the risk of community transmission.”
High Performance swimming programs and community pools have been closed since 23rd March with swimmers rolling staying active in backyard pools, in the ocean and in creeks while using social media for strength and conditioning and yoga sessions under the direction of their respective coaches.
Images: Elite swimming at HBF Stadium (top) and HBF Stadium from the air (below). Images courtesy of VenuesWest.
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24th April 2020 - Coach calls for elite swimmers to be given access to pools
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28th March 2020 - Commercial Aquatics Australia advise facilities on swimming pool maintenance during COVID-19 closure
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8th March 2020 - Aquatic facilities react to Coronavirus fears
7th October 2019 - VenuesWest sets attendance record with over six million patrons in 2018/19
25th August 2019 - WAIS announces new Athletics Performance Manager appointment
9th August 2019 - Western Australian aquatic centres report identifies industry labour shortages
6th August 2019 - VenuesWest undertakes smart venues transformation
19th November 2018 - Health insurer HBF secures naming rights for Perth’s NIB Stadium
12th February 2016 - Redeveloped gym opens at HBF Stadium
24th April 2015 - WAIS high performance centre gets official opening
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