Following the leadership and direction of the Victorian Government to influence behaviours to reduce the risk of individuals contributing to community transmission of COVID-19 in the wider population, the Victorian Institute of Sport fully support this decision as the health and wellbeing of our community far outweighs the need of sport at this time.
Further and in order to safeguard athlete and staff health at this time, the VIS has closed our high performance facility and significantly modified all service delivery to athletes affective today. The VIS has ceased delivery of face-to-face athlete services and have started implementing remote service delivery and support. Athletes are being provided training programs to undertake at home and where possible portable training equipment is being made available to enable them to continue their conditioning and fitness.
This follows the AOC announcement on Monday 23 March that they are no longer preparing teams for Tokyo 2020 and Paralympic Australia’s support for this decision, along with the SSNL postponing their season. This is understandably disappointing for athletes and coaches. It does however provide them with clarity and an ability to reset their planning and training goals.
The decision to shut down operations was made in collaboration with the National Institute Network with all members working to provide a consistent and appropriate response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacting our local, Australian and World communities.
The VIS’ immediate focus is on athlete and staff health and wellbeing and we are working to ensure they have the right support to assist their transition into the best possible mindset and physical state to manage the broader societal impacts of COVID-19. The VIS Performance Lifestyle team has reached out to staff and athletes and provided information, support and access to professional networks to assist during this time.
Many of our athletes based interstate have returned or are in the process of returning home to be with family and we are providing support to them through this period. Athletes will be respecting Government restrictions around self-isolating where required.
VIS CEO, Anne Marie Harrison, said:
“We have been planning for this scenario and sadly we have moved quickly to implementation. We are well positioned as many staff and athletes travel frequently and are used to operating remotely, however as we know these are truly unique and challenging circumstances. I have been so impressed by the resilience, proactivity and creativity already being displayed by many in adapting, whilst also maintaining a sense of routine. We are all in this together and will stay connected so we will be ready to return to day to day operations as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The VIS facility at Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park is now closed and sport specific training has ceased at other locations. However, our office will remain contactable through our normal telephone and email contact details.
We encourage all sporting organisations, athletes and coaches to abide by the latest government directives, to make wellbeing their number one priority, and to do everything possible to minimise unnecessary contact between individuals.
The high performance sporting system is well equipped to deal with adversity. Our leaders, athletes and administrators will continue to be role models for the Victorian community.
This advice will be updated as required.