HAMILTON, Bermuda – The 49th edition of the Carifta Games, postponed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, has been rescheduled for Bermuda’s National Sports Centre from July 2-4, organisers have announced.
Normally held over the Easter weekend, it is the latest the annual regional junior athletic showpiece has been held.
Last year marked the first postponement in the Games’ history.
The local organising committee decided last April to reschedule the Games for April 2-5 this year.
But there were recent concerns the new date might be too soon in light of a spike in positive COVID-19 cases here in November and December.
The North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) made the decision to push the date back to July 2-4 at a council meeting on Thursday night.
NACAC president Mike Sands, confirming the pandemic was the reason for changing the dates, said in a statement: “Time is running out, and the situation is not improving globally.
“The NACAC family, the Carifta family is affected. 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 2-4.”
NACAC general secretary Keith Joseph said the new dates had been unanimously approved.
In a letter to Donna Raynor, president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association and head of the local organising committee, Joseph said: “We are mindful of the challenges with which your country, organisation and all of our Caribbean member federations and their athletes are confronted, but are confident of our collective resolve to overcome them as we have so often done in the past with other obstacles.”
Raynor confirmed she favoured pushing the Games back to give the organisers more time to prepare.
“Our technical delegate had to look at dates where we could fit Carifta in the NACAC and World Athletics calendar,” she said.
“So basically those dates are put forward to us by our technical delegate, not dates that we came up with. We put together a position paper and our preference was to not have it in April.
“In the survey that was sent out it said if the majority came back and said, ‛We want to have it in April’, then we would have gone forward with the majority. But in our position paper our preference would be to move it from April to further in the year.”
More than 600 athletes and officials from 27 Caribbean islands are expected to arrive in Bermuda for the games which represent the region’s premier amateur track and field showpiece.
The Games, first held in 1972, are being staged in Bermuda for the fifth time.
During the 2004 renewal here, Jamaican Usain Bolt signalled his future greatness at just 17, when he became the first junior athlete to break the 20-second mark over 200 metres, crossing the winning line in 19.3 seconds.