Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, JA – Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) remains committed to the Carifta Games despite its second postponement in less than a year and President Garth Gayle is prepared to send a team if the situation is safe.

Yesterday, the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), organisers of the annual regional junior track and field championships, announced that the 49th edition of the three-day event that is usually held over the Easter weekend had been pushed back to early July in Bermuda out of concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Time is running out, and the situation is not improving globally. The NACAC family, the Carifta family is affected,” Mike Sands, president of NACAC was quoted in a release from the organisers. “We took a decision at council level to do a survey with membership to determine the best course of action. There were several options for a date change, and we ultimately decided on July 2nd to 4th.”

The event was set to be hosted in Bermuda in April 2020 but was pushed back a year after the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the date was further pushed back to July, the first time it would be held so late in the year since its inception in 1972.

Gayle told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that they were aware of the decision prior to the announcement, but said: “Jamaica remains committed to the Carifta Games and we will find a way to be able to send a team, we will be meeting with our competitions commission and other stakeholders and to ensure that we can send a formidable team to take part. We have topped the tables in many years and we don’t intend to stop, we will continue to be victorious.”

Gayle added: “We will ensure that all protocols established will be adhered to for the travel to and from and safe return of athletes and officials back to Jamaica.”

The release said Sands was optimistic that the championships would be held, adding, “but it’s cautious optimism. Obviously, what eventually happens will be dictated by the turn of events. But I’m confident the Games will go on. I’m happy we’ve arrived at a point where we have definitive dates. This is the pre-eminent junior championship meet in the region, and arguably the world. I’m looking forward to continuing the legacy.”

The release further said that in a letter to Bermuda National Athletics Association (BNAA) President Donna Raynor, Thursday, NACAC General Secretary Keith Joseph officially informed the host country of the decision to shift the Carifta dates.

The NACAC Council, the release said, “unanimously approved the convening of the 49th edition of the annual Carifta Games in Bermuda during the period July 2-4, 2021 on Thursday, with arrival being on June 30 and departure on July 5 “, and said the council also approved the retention of the existing Carifta Games programme of events as well as team quotas.

“COVID is going to dictate what happens,” Raynor was quoted as saying, “but from a preparation standpoint, we will be prepared. As long as COVID allows us, we will be ready to host the Games.”

  • Top Feature Photo: Jamaica’s Britany Anderson (left) runs to a new record of 13.16 seconds in the Under-18 100m hurdles event at the Flow Carifta Games in Curacao in this 2017 file photo – Photo: Collin Reid