Some high-performance athletes say their dreams and livelihoods are being ruined because they are either forced to give up events abroad or face foreign time away from family and friends.
Many rooms in administrative isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities are currently occupied by people with or without close contact, the government said. Stopped making new bookings And it’s not clear when they will resume.
This has made it difficult, if not impossible, for many of New Zealand’s top athletes to do their jobs.
It’s a great choice: to live in New Zealand with no career or income, or to go abroad and risk being stuck abroad indefinitely.
Multi-sports athlete Braden Curry had this problem in August.
With the Iron Man World Champion postponed until early 2022, he was invited to the Collins Cup in Europe to compete in Team International.
It was a great opportunity that passed, so he left his wife and three children and traveled to Europe without a place in MIQ.
His wife, Sally, said competition and sponsorship deals were the family’s main source of income, so he had to leave.
“He’s ranked sixth in the world and he hasn’t been able to travel abroad for events in the last two years, but in the last six or eight months his game has basically resumed. To compete for so long, it’s He has a livelihood. His sponsors and his fans want to see him race. He wants to race.
He said the apparent inequality in the MIQ system had made the situation even more depressing.
Over the past year, many national and international sports teams have been given MIQ discounts.
So Sally wrote an open letter to Sports Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.
“How do you determine which sports are more important than others? Are you solving this problem for our individual players? Economic benefit?”
Ever since the Curry family expressed their frustration with the MIQ system, other players have come forward.
For top surfer Paige Hareb, the risk of not getting a MIQ spot was too high, which led to her being eliminated from the World Surf League ‘Challenger Series’.
In a Facebook post, he said he did not know when he would be allowed to return to New Zealand, with the risk that the trip would affect his health and income, which meant more cancellations. Keeps
Others have decided to take the opportunity.
Olympic silver medalist Michael Venus left New Zealand for the US Open in April, but failed to qualify for the MIQ when he returned.
How long will it take before they see each other again, her family decides to go on a tour with her.
Sally Curry said Braden, who would stay in Austria for the next seven weeks, was at the end of his teaching career.
“Braden is emotional. He’s more emotional than before his game. Several times a day when he’s there he’s thinking about throwing a towel and this is the first time in his entire career and that’s because He does not know that he can deal with the unknown, the constant unknown.
“When he finally gets home and then the World Champions race comes, he has to go again and find out that he can’t get home yet. He’s not sure if he can bear the emotional loss. Will be able to or not. “
About 170,000 people have gone through MIQ since its inception last year.
Covid 19 Response Minister Chris Hopkins yesterday revealed the results of a survey of returnees who have been through the system since May this year.
Although 88% said it was a positive experience, they said the difficulty of getting a booking was a source of frustration for many.
“The system will look and feel different when we are in a position to open for new bookings. The new virtual lobby will give everyone a more equal opportunity to secure a booking with more notice when a voucher is issued.
“We are also constantly looking at how we can increase capacity. I recognize that the current travel restrictions are challenging for many people and I want to reassure everyone that we provide a safe passage in New Zealand. We’re doing our best to do that. We can safely accommodate as many people as possible without putting our country in unnecessary danger. “