CARIFTA Games cancelled

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Barbados’ most talented junior track and field athletes will not get the chance to compete at the CARIFTA Games this year.

The region’s most prestigious meet which was originally slated for April 10 to 13, has now officially fallen victim to the novel coronavirus – COVID-19 following a postponement last month.

In a press statement, president of North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC), Mike Sands, said the executive council met last Thursday and several factors contributed to the decision.

These include the COVID-19 pandemic and its overall impact on the host country as well as all members of the CARIFTA family, the impact on Government and private sector plans and budgets for 2020 and uncertainty surrounding the re-convening of international travel.

Sands mentioned that the closure of schools and sports facilities was also impacting athletes’ ability to train and adequately prepare for a delayed edition of the CARIFTA Games in 2020. Delayed examinations for students at the pre-college stage of their careers was another reason cited for pushing back the games.

However, there will be no change to the host city for the 50th edition, which means that Guyana will still be the venue.

“The executive thought that the decision would still mean that Bermuda would host the 49th edition of our CARIFTA Games, leaving the door open for Guyana to continue planning to host the 50th anniversary edition, but in 2022.

Discussions have begun with all stakeholders in Guyana, craving their understanding and support, given that Bermuda did nothing to lose the annual event and is therefore deserving of being given the opportunity to make good on its commitment, albeit, one year later.

“The NACAC Executive believes that our decision is in the best collective interest of our CARIFTA Family and allows us all an opportunity to support both Bermuda and Guyana in the face of these most trying times. We have an excellent opportunity to work more deliberately together, to show to the world that our annual CARIFTA Games are indeed, the very best junior track and field competition, globally,” he noted.

It’s the heart-breaking end to the track and field season for St Michael School’s quarter-miler Rhea Hoyte, the overseas-based long jumper Shemia Odaine, former Harrison College schoolboy Julian Forde, and Combermere’s triple jumper Jemuel Miller who were in their final year competing in the Under-20 divisions. (AGB)

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