Fresh from winning a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Championships, weightlifter Yazmin Zammit Stevens was left with a foul taste in the mouth after being told she would have to quarantine for two weeks upon her return to Malta.
In an Instagram story, Zammit Stevens said the health authorities had originally granted her and her team an exemption from quarantine following their return from Uzbekistan, which Malta has classified as a ‘dark red’ country.
“We were granted an exemption from quarantining when we came back which is why we decided to go,” she said. “They gave us a set of rules – loads of tests to do and rules to abide by when we were there and when we returned. We agreed and we were granted an exemption.”
However, Zammit Stevens said her team received an email yesterday informing them that their exemption no longer stood and that they would have to quarantine for two weeks over the Christmas period.
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“It’s just really annoying because we were granted the exemption, which is why we went. We needed to go to qualify for the Commonwealth Games, which is why we were given an exemption in the first place.”
The weightlifter said she decided to quarantine alone because she didn’t want her family to spend two weeks locked indoors over the festive period.
“I should be happy and celebrating but I just cannot stop crying because I didn’t agree to this,” she said. “We agreed to the rules and followed them exactly as we were meant to. We booked all the tests we had to when we came back and we weren’t going to do any social events.”
“It just sucks because we weren’t on holiday. We were in our hotel rooms all day, or else training or competing and we followed the rules. This is essential travel to us; I’m an athlete and this is what I have to do. If my country wants me to go to the Commonwealth Games next year, I have to do this competition.”
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“Meanwhile people are on holiday and don’t have to quarantine. It’s just really unfair and I’m trying to keep it together. I wanted to explain why there’s no positivity on my feed at the moment. I know we had a great day yesterday and [achieved] a great result for my country but I’m just in shock that we followed the rules for nothing.”
She questioned the health authorities’ logic, stating that she wouldn’t have travelled to Uzbekistan in the first place had she known she would have to quarantine upon her return.
“Who would tell you we can go and give us an exemption, wait till we’re there and then take it back? It makes no sense to me. Don’t grant me the exemption then. Don’t support me and tell me to compete and then take back what you promised.”
“I wouldn’t have gone to compete if I knew I had to quarantine for two whole weeks. It’s ridiculous, I can’t believe this situation and I feel so disrespected as an athlete.”
Cover photos: Instagram (Yazmin Zammit Stevens)
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