THE 2021 CARIFTA Games have been moved to July from their traditional Easter weekend date due to the global COVID-19 Pandemic, the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) has announced.
NACAC President Mike Sands said, “The regional junior track and field championship, which will celebrate its 49th edition, were to take place from 3rd-5th April, but will now be staged from 2nd-4th July in Bermuda”
“Time is running out, and the situation is not improving globally,” Sands said. “The NACAC family, the CARIFTA family is affected. We took a decision at Council level (on Thursday 21st) 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-4th.
“I’m optimistic,” Sands continued, “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.”
After the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 CARIFTA Games in Bermuda, the Bermuda National Athletics Association (BNAA) remained committed to hosting the event.
“Covid is going to dictate what happens,” said BNAA President Donna Raynor, “but from a preparation standpoint, we will be prepared. As long as Covid allows us, we will be ready to host the Games.”
NACAC Council approved the retention of the existing CARIFTA Games programme of events as well as team quotas. Arrivals will begin on 30th June with departures set for 5th July.
NACAC general secretary Keith Joseph said: “NACAC stands ready to work with the BNAA to ensure that Bermuda and all of the CARIFTA Family enjoy the benefit of another very successful edition of one of the world of athletics’ most exciting spectacles, the annual CARIFTA Games.”
Meanwhile, the last time the event was held (2019) Jamaica topped the medals table for a 35th consecutive year in the Cayman Islands.
The Jamaican team finished the event at Truman Bodden Sports Complex with 85 medals, including 36 gold, 33 silver and 16 bronze.