No deadline has yet been targeted, but the Sports Québec organization confirms that the postponement is indeed possible for next year. This is obviously a big disappointment for all sectors involved, especially the city of Rivière-du-Loup. At the moment it is not possible to quantify the losses related to the cancellation of this event.
No one is happy with this news, but once again the big losers in all of this are the young athletes who will again be deprived of this unique experience.
Here is the full press release for this announcement:
It is with emotion that SPORTSQUÉBEC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Municipality of Rivière-du-Loup and the Organizing Committee of the 56th Quebec Games Final, announces the cancellation of the next Quebec Quebec Games Final which was scheduled from 4 to 12 March 2022 in Rivière-du-Loup. Everyone was surprised and witnessed the rapid evolution of the pandemic from last December to today. This difficult decision was therefore made in order to protect the health and safety of athletes, staff and volunteers, as well as community members, following the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the province. The intensity with which the pandemic and the Omicron variant recently hit Quebec left no other choice for the various partners. Lead partners will explore several options in the coming weeks.
In particular, the feasibility of postponing the Quebec Games final in Rivière-du-Loup to March 2023 will be assessed. Currently, the Quebec government does not allow large indoor events. In fact, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the organization of a 10-day final-size gathering of the Quebec Games, welcoming more than 3,300 athletes from 19 regions, 2,500 volunteers and 18 provincial sports competitions, not to mention the spectators and partners present.
Indoor sports competitions are prohibited until further notice. To date, as part of the Regional Games, only 16% of sporting qualifications have been achieved and the deadline for possession of the qualifications is February 13, 2022. A return to training before a return to competitions is essential to ensure a adequate preparation of the athletes, it seems unlikely that the qualifications can take place within these deadlines.
Without the necessary authorizations, the provincial transport of 3,300 athletes to the host environment in buses filled to the maximum capacity as well as the reception of participants and missionaries in the classrooms is impossible to coordinate in compliance with current measures. Additionally, with restaurant dining rooms closed, including canteens, the pandemic greatly complicates food management, which accounts for an average of 6,000 meals a day during a Quebec Games final.
Mandatory teleworking hampers the planning and conduct of the final stages with a view to holding the Finale des Jeux du Québec. The risks of outbreaks and the isolation of people with COVID-19 make final preparation for such an event difficult. In virtual mode, the recruitment, accreditation, training and involvement of volunteers pose real challenges. Isabelle Charest, Minister of Education, responsible for recreation and sport, stresses that “sports programs that motivate our young people, including the Quebec Games, are a priority for the Quebec government. We are aware of the importance they have for the Quebec community and the motivation of young people. In this difficult decision, priority was given to the health of the Quebecs. We are continuing our discussions with Quebec sports organizations to find solutions for the good of all. I want to tell young athletes to keep their heads up and not give up.
The Quebec Games are of great significance for Quebec athletes, as well as for those who wish to achieve excellence in their discipline. This program represents 50 years of history and dedication. This complex decision was not taken lightly, it is a heartbreaking decision. We are working hard to get athletes back to their sport. A very special thanks to the partners, volunteers and employees for their support in the adventure of the Quebec Games. They are essential for the success of such an event. For the moment, we meet this summer in Laval, in July 2022! says the president of SPORTSQUÉBEC, Ms Julie Gosselin.
For his part, the mayor of Rivière-du-Loup, Mario Bastille, confirms: “The Municipality of Rivière-du-Loup is in solidarity with the sports community. The final of the Quebec Games is an important milestone in the lives of athletes and Rivière-du-Loup was proud to host it 50 years after the first edition of history, in 1971. I thank the local partners, volunteers and employees who believed in this significant project for our community. Your commitment in these months is an important source of motivation to allow us to dream of realizing great events in the future. This great adventure, which began over 6 years ago, has brought a very positive wind of change to our community. We will build this momentum of partnership and collaboration between the various actors in the community. “
Despite a first postponement in 2020 and months of hard work in an unpredictable context, the Organizing Committee of the 56th Quebec Games Final – Rivière-du-Loup 2022 has tried everything in the hope of creating a historic multisport event. The co-chairs of the board, Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon and Christian Pelletier, would like to thank the Louperivoise community for their unwavering support since the announcement in 2016 of the return of the Quebec Games to their city. “We would like to acknowledge the enthusiasm of our local, regional and provincial partners, who have supported us all the way. The population also passionately mobilized around our team to offer a memorable event to all participants. Stopping the train, while it sped along with the hope of a return to the track for the young athletes, saddens us deeply ”, testify the co-presidents.
The Jeux du Québec program has been part of the Quebec sports community for over 50 years, and its annual competitions represent a rite of passage for the vast majority of Quebec’s top-tier athletes. We understand the impact on the sports community and are doing everything possible to ensure that athletes from various disciplines can resume their activities.We sincerely hope that the situation improves quickly to allow athletes to be optimally prepared for competition. SPORTSQUÉBEC prioritizes the health and safety of athletes and will continue to work so that SPORT can resume its normal course as soon as possible in every Quebecer’s life.
The upcoming Finals of the Quebec Games, scheduled for next summer in Laval and summer 2023 in Rimouski, are being maintained. SPORTSQUÉBEC and the Organizing Committees are closely monitoring the pandemic to adapt to the situation that will prevail at that time.