Charles spoke at a press conference on Monday

Sports Minister, Justina Charles, has stressed the importance of sports and sporting activities as Dominica recovers from the effects of Hurricane Maria.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, she said chronic non-communicable diseases and their management are plaguing the Ministry of Health.

“And so we recognize that physical activities and engagements in sports where we can burn excess calories, so we wouldn’t have to get too big, so we can control our size and so would allow our body functions to be more effective to prevent the onset of diseases…” she said, adding that after the hurricane Dominicans are consuming a lot of foods that can have an impact on their health.

“Normally they are there,” she said referring the foods that are being eaten after Maria. “But we will consume more of that because our local foods are not readily available and so we expect to see a little move in terms of obesity…”

Charles said people must be encouraged to engage in physical activities.

“But importantly, though, is the psychological impact that sports can have on the well-being of our citizens,” she stated. “Because we know most of us are stressed with the effects of Hurricane Maria and as a result of those sporting activities that have commenced in the school, it will allow the students to engage in something that can help their psychological well-being.”

Meanwhile, Sports Coordinator, Trevor Shillingford, announced a number sporting activities that are being organized and are expected to take place after the hurricane.

Among them is Dominica’s preparation to take part in 2018 Caribbean U-16 Netball Tournament, although the Caribbean Netball Association has not yet decided on a venue for the event.

“However, the Sports Division has selected 24 players to participate in the training exercise,” he stated. “Training sessions are being held at the hardcourt at the Benjamin’s Park in Portsmouth.”

He stated that the Secondary School’s Netball Championship is expected to begin on December 15 with the U-16 and U-17 Divisions.

Shillingford said the weekly PE and after school sports at primary schools are expected to begin in the first week of the second term.

A primary school football coaching program will be done early in January with support from the Dominica Football Association and will target schools in the south and the east.

Additionally, a secondary school volleyball championship will start on January 12, 2018 and the National Bank of Dominica Primary School Football Championship will begin on January 25.

Another activity to begin soon is the Massy United Insurance U-20 Secondary School’s Cricket Championship.