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Posted: Saturday 22 January, 2022 at 1:12 PM

Plans moving apace for CARIFTA Games

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AFTER a two-year hiatus and several venue changes, the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) is optimistic that the 2022 CARIFTA Games would be staged during the pandemic.


    The mega junior meet was slated to be held in Georgetown, Guayan, but the athletics officials indicated that due to the state of COVID-19 in the South American nation, they were unable to host the event this year but are willing to in 2023, which prompted Jamaica to step in and play host even though the virus is still wrecking havoc.


    Just recently, the Organising Committee held its official launch and 100-day countdown to the premier regional junior meet, even as they work to actually stage the event. 


    The Jamaican Minister of Sport threw her Government’s support of the event.


    Now,  NACAC’s President Mike Sands is very optimistic that the event would be staged as the regional athletic body remains in constant communication with the LOC on developments within the country and the organising plans.


    “...of course there are certain things that are very fluid and we are monitoring that as well. I can tell you today,  we have asked the member federations for our planning purposes to give us an indication of what they think their numbers would look like…and so far we have got 485 to 500 athletes through the member federations what they would bring to the table,” Sands explained to Grenada Sports’ Michael Bascombe during a recent discussion.


    COVID-19 has affected the event over the last two years with the event being cancelled in 2020 and 2021, and the NACAC boss wants to see the event being staged this year.


    “We are always cautiously optimistic and I would give it more than 90 percent. Simply because, not that it would not go on because of lack of planning or otherwise, it has to be the health of the nation which is the wealth of the nation and putting national security at risk owing to COVID,” Sands noted.


    The biggest challenge facing the organisers is what impact it will have on the Games itself and how they would manage any outbreak within the ranks, should any occur. 


    But according to Sand, they are “planning full steam ahead”.


    Though they are pushing ahead, the Carifta Games will be dependent on the Government of Jamaica making the final determination due to the number of cases on the island at the time.


    Jamaica, like many other islands, has seen increasing numbers of COVID cases even though health officials have been pushing vaccination and health protocols.
    “So whatever they say we have to go [with], depending on what negative impact on our Games we will obviously adapt,” Sands suggested.


    Questions are still being asked about fan attendance, as a number of territories, including the Bahamas, often walk with a large contingent. But health officials in Jamaica have thus far blocked any fans from attending. 


    The 2022 CARIFTA Games will be held over the Easter weekend.


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