NACAC postpones 2021 CARIFTA Games until July citing Covid-19 concerns

By Sports Desk January 22, 2021

The 2021 Carifta Games will not be staged on the traditional Easter weekend. Instead, the regional junior track and field championships will take place between July 2 and 4, in Bermuda.

The North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) made the decision at a Council meeting on Thursday night. NACAC President Mike Sands explained that the Covid-19 pandemic was the catalyst for shifting the Carifta dates.

“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 2nd to 4th,” Sands said in a statement released today.

“I’m optimistic 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.”

In a letter to Bermuda National Athletics Association (BNAA) president Donna Raynor, yesterday, NACAC General Secretary Keith Joseph officially informed the host country of the decision to shift the Carifta dates.

“The NACAC Council, at its meeting of Thursday 21 January 2021, unanimously approved the convening of the 49th edition of the annual Carifta Games in Bermuda during the period 2 – 4 July 2021, with arrival being on 30 June and departure on 5 July. The NACAC Council also approved the retention of the existing Carifta Games programme of events as well as team quotas,” the letter said.

 Covid-19 had forced the cancellation of the 2020 Carifta Games, in Bermuda. The BNAA, however, remained committed to the Games and was preparing to host the 2021 edition between April 3 and 5. Covid, though, remains a challenge, forcing the postponement of the three-day meet.

“We are mindful of the challenges with which your country, organization and all of our Caribbean member federations and their athletes are confronted,” Joseph said in his letter to Raynor, “but are confident of our collective resolve to overcome them as we have so often done in the past with other obstacles.”

 Raynor said she is pleased with the decision to postpone Carifta 2021.

“We created a position paper in which we stated that our preference was moving the Games to a later date. That first weekend in July is a good weekend for us. It fits in well with our calendar and our school system. School is out in July. It’s the perfect weekend, and the weather will be great in July, not as cold as in April,” she said.

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

Joseph expressed his gratitude to Raynor, the BNAA and the Bermuda government.

“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.”

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