Athletics: Interview with Lissa Labiche |08 April 2020
Labiche undecided over future
Our top lady athlete Lissa Labiche has said that she is still undecided about her next course of action after she had to return home from her training base in the United States of America.
The high jumper told Sports NATION that she was not too willing to return at first as she was about to complete her studies at the University of South Carolina where she was majoring in sociology and was about to graduate next month.
“I was reaching the end of my three-year course and when the coronavirus started to affect the USA, our coaches encouraged us to go back to our homes as everywhere was under lockdown and the university was closed but I was hoping the situation would improve so I opted to stay for a while longer but this proved problematic as we were isolated from our coaches and did not really know what was going to happen next and we started to have food shortage as the supermarkets were closed. It was at this point that I felt it would be best to return home to be with my family while there was still available flights though I knew it was going to be risky but I took a lot of precaution on my trip home,” reflects the two-time Sportswoman of the Year.
Labiche was placed under quarantine when she arrived in the country a fortnight ago as per the department of health guidelines and is supposed to be released to go home this Thursday and she says she was not bothered about having been isolated.
“Being in quarantine is just a small sacrifice I have to make to be with my family which is much better than having to live in the USA during this COVID-19 pandemic which is quite difficult and I have coped well with it and soon I will be reunited with my loved ones,” Labiche claimed.
Nonetheless Labiche has another dilemma which she has to brood upon during her break here as it is a big decision she has to make on her future and career.
“I must decide if I will go back to the USA to complete my studies as I have to think also of my personal life and the problem with going back to university is that I will have to be back there by May which looks very unlikely with the present health situation and my visa will expire then which means I will have to wait up to January next year to be able to re-enter the States to complete my studies which has been deferred for a year for all students though our university has left the door open for our return,” explained Labiche.
As for her preparation for the Olympic Games which was part of her training in the USA under the Olympic Solidarity scholarship, she says that she will continue her training locally with her Cuban coach Carlos Suarez when the sports facilities re-open here.
“After two years where I have been restricted from competing due to, firstly an ankle injury and followed by a knee problem, I was looking forward for the outdoor season where I was really targeting to make the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games. It would be an honour and a privilege to compete at these prestigious games,” Labiche, who participated in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games, related to Sports NATION.
27-year-old Labiche also said that she thinks it is to her advantage that the Olympic Games have been postponed for a year where she hopes to get more time to fully recover from the injuries which threatened to end her career if she had not rested for some time and even had to miss the 10th Indian Ocean Islands Games in Mauritius in 2019.
“I have to wait for the current coronavirus pandemic to die down before I make my final decision if I will complete my Master’s degree but wherever I am, I will keep training to prepare to reach the qualifying standard which I am very confident I can reach,” Labiche stated as she has to surpass the 1.90 metre mark to guarantee her ticket to the Tokyo 2020 which will be held in July 2021.