Mandatory use of face masks in public is proving to be quite a challenge for shot putter Hezekiel Romeo.
“The mask requirement hinders my breathing during strenuous workouts,” Romeo told the Express, “but I try to use ones that do not make me feel like I’m suffocating.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has added to the obstacles faced by the fire officer. “Training is already tough, having to work full-time. Now, with the rise in cases, it worries me and my coach, Ismael Lopez Mastrapa, in terms of our health safety. But we take the right measures to ensure a safe as possible environment.
“The closure of gyms,” Romeo continued, “has led to improvised methods of muscular development, mainly consisting of body weight training to try to maintain the progress thus far. My readiness for 2021 solely falls upon how much work I put in in the little time I may get. I’m not confident there’ll be a full 2021 season, but hoping for the best. I’ll keep working regardless in the event that there is.”
Like many home-based athletes, Romeo has not competed in 2020. The Diego Martin thrower is concerned about the inactivity.
He said: “For locally-based athletes, competitions are necessary to try to keep the cobwebs off. Also, I am sure many athletes feel like they are training in vain. But for some, it’s a blessing if they were not ready for this season.”
Romeo remains mentally focused in spite of the dark cloud that is Covid-19. “I have set goals I want to achieve in athletics, and although I may be deterred at times I keep pushing, knowing I would not be comfortable not achieving them or even trying to.
“There is not much certainty about the local season next year, but my goals are always to do better than I did the previous year. There is not much that can be done to ensure readiness if restrictions prevent the majority of things. So, keeping active and healthy regardless of all setbacks is the best that can be done.”
Romeo said the prevailing circumstances here in T&T have forced him into a monotonous routine. “As a fire officer, I am an essential worker, so it’s just work, home and training. It’s a bit boring. No recreational events,” Romeo ended, “due to the global pandemic”.