… 2023 spectacle launched
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - BUILT on the premise of providing young people of the Caribbean a platform to showcase their athletic prowess, the CARIFTA Games has grown significantly and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
First held in 1972, the Games was founded as the Caribbean Free Trade Association, and it has since grown leaps and bounds to become the premier junior track and field event across the globe.
Since its inception, the mega regional meet has provided a pathway for some of the world's best sprinters from across the region who have gone on to dominate the sport internationally, including the likes of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser- Pryce and Steven Gardner.
The event, in recent years, has been dominated by the athletics prowess of the land of sprint, Jamaica. This year, the territory played host to the event following an. agreement to fill in at the last moment after Bermuda had challenges due to the COVID pandemic.
They showed why they are the leaders in athletics in the region, displaying dominance on the track and in the field, winning 85 medals - 45 Gold, 29 Silver, and 18 Bronze Medals.
Attention is now on Nassau as the Games has reached the 50th milestone and celebrations have begun as the territory is ringing in the 2023 event with its culture and artistry.
On Friday (Dec. 2), during a glitzy display of the local culture, the Bahamians' power in the field of athletics past and present, including world champions Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo, were on display to lend support for the premier junior meet.
Recognizing the role the Games play in the region, President of the Zonal Body Athletics, North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC)), Mike Sands, reminded that the Games had provided a platform where young Caribbean athletes could pave their own road to success.
Since 1972, the CARIFTA Games had enabled promising athletes to test their metal against one another, while honing themselves in preparation for the international level of competition.
“The CARIFTA Games is a source of encouragement…that enables many of our young Caribbean athletes to create their own road to success,” said Sands.
He underscored that the Games has provided 50 years of perseverance, not just for one country, but rather the entire region and the various athletics associations.
Mario Bowleg, Bahamas Sports Minister, underscored the importance of sports to the island as it seeks to become the premier sporting destination in the region.
“...the brand of sports in paradise is alive and well!” he said.
Now, the groundwork has started to ensure that the facilities are in pristine conditions to host hundreds of athletes within the region, from Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad in the South to Jamaica and Belize in the west
Staging of the 2023 event also coincides with the territory’s Golden Jubilee Independence celebrations.
The 2023 CARIFTA Games will be held over the Easter Weekend, April 7-10.