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Jamaica to host Carifta Games

Published:Thursday | February 3, 2011 | 8:14 AM

Andre Lowe

Senior Sports Writer

After months of uncertainty, The Gleaner understands that Jamaica will, after all, host this year’s troubled Carifta Games, in the second city of Montego Bay between April 23-25.

The annual track and field championships, which is the first real international exposure for the region’s top junior athletes, was in danger of being cancelled for the first time in its 39-year history, after original host St Kitts backed out of its original bid to host the meet.

Jamaica was soon afterwards identified by The North American, Central American, and Caribbean (NACAC) Track & Field Association president Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook as a possible alternative, but local authorities were reluctant to take on the responsibility at the time, due the closeness of the meet to their own International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Challenge JN International Invitational meet scheduled for the National Stadium a mere two weeks later.

Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and several other regional territories had also reportedly been close to stepping in to host the games but also decided to pull out at the last minute.

However, high level Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) sources have reliably informed that a decision has been taken to sanction the staging of the meet in Jamaica.

The source, who requested anonymity, highlighted the importance of the meet to the development of the region’s athletes and underlined that the association could not stand by and watch the meet continue to be thrown around in uncertainty.

It not clear how active a role the JAAA will play in the hosting of the meet given its obligations towards the JN International Invitational but it is certain that they will definitely facilitate the country’s seventh hosting of the highly respected meet. The last time the country hosted the Carifta Games was in 1996 in Kingston.

The Catherine Hall multi-purpose stadium in Montego Bay has been suggested as the likely venue.

Jamaica has hosted the event in 1974, 1979, 1982, 1988, 1990 and 1996.

When contacted, McCook decided against confirming or denying the developments but instead offered that a press release would be presented on the issue in short order, concerning the matter.