The Disappointment of Phase 1

When the plan for Safe Re-Opening was announced in Singapore, I don’t think I was the only person who was surprised and honestly, disappointed, by the approach. Safe Re-Opening was supposed to happen in 3 Phases, with Phase 1 starting from 2nd June. Phase 1 was not exactly a major ‘lifting’ of the Circuit Breaker.

Many were disappointed because Phase 1 seemed a bit too cautious. Essentially, little would have changed between Circuit Breaker and Phase 1, except for schools re-opening, barbers and hairdressers being able to offer all services ( yay?), visits to grandparents and parents being allowed and a few expansions to essential services.

For us sports people, nothing much would have changed. Yes, we get to conduct ‘e-cca’ for judo, but judo clubs and businesses have to stay shut in Phase 1. Admittedly, there was an expectation that we would go back to doing judo after 1st June. How? It’s hopeful but at the back of my mind I was hoping the principle of ‘small group sizes/less than 10 people’ would be ‘safe-distancing’ enough.

Judging by the nature of Phase 1, and what has been articulated about Phase 2 so far, I’m not very hopeful that judokas in Singapore will get to go back on the mats anytime soon. It will be really hard to implement ‘safe distancing’ measures in any contact sport, let alone a close contact sport like Judo.

Before the Circuit Breaker began and measures were rolling in ad-hoc, I attempted implementing safe distancing measures in the coaching course I conducted for SJF. It was neither ideal nor fun – we couldn’t demonstrate with our partners, and many coaches had to use a heavy, stiff dummy to carry out micro-coaching. Sitting 1m apart was fine during lecture, but being 1m apart in practical sessions for judo is just…not practical.

I suspect there will be greater discussion of this once we transit to Phase 2, when gyms and fitness studios are allowed to operate. Till then, we will just have to delve deeper into Zoom Judo.

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