Sun | Jun 20, 2021

Carifta Games 2021 officially cancelled

Published:Monday | May 10, 2021 | 9:37 PMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter -
Jamaica's Sashell Reid (centre) and Quaycian Davis (right) storm by the Bahamas' Reshae Dean on their way to gold and silver respectively in the Girls Under 17 400m hurdles final at the Carifta Games, in the Cayman Islands on Sunday, April 21, 2019.
Jamaica's Sashell Reid (centre) and Quaycian Davis (right) storm by the Bahamas' Reshae Dean on their way to gold and silver respectively in the Girls Under 17 400m hurdles final at the Carifta Games, in the Cayman Islands on Sunday, April 21, 2019.

For the second straight year, the Carifta Games, the annual athletics competition featuring the best regional junior athletes, has been cancelled.

North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) General Secretary Keith Joseph said that the administration was left with no other option but to cancel the 2021 edition of the competition because of the various obstacles that the COVID-19 pandemic presented to the local organising committee.

Joseph said those challenges ranged from the strict quarantine requirements for athletes, to a lack of additional funding, and problems with accommodation. Joseph said that the challenges would require not allowing under 17 athletes to participate, an alternative which they would not consider.

"Unfortunately we have carefully taken all factors into consideration, and are left with no option but to cancel the Carifta Games 2021," he said. "The Bermuda authorities have made it clear that the 14-day mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated athletes is non-negotiable. While Bermuda allows athletes from 16 years to be vaccinated, the majority of our Carifta family members are in countries where the authorities only allow vaccination for persons 18 years and older.

"We cannot host the event without the Under 17s, who, from our vantage point, are as integral to the event as the Under 20s. We are not agreed to having an edition of the Carifta Games that does not engage the traditional categories and which disenfranchised a significant number of athletes."

Last year's edition of the games was cancelled because of the pandemic and resulted in Bermuda remaining as the host country for the 2021 staging. However, the event was pushed back twice because of the surge in COVID-19 cases, and the conflict with those sitting Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations.

NACAC said in April that the August dates were under threat because of the various obstacles outlined.

The 2022 Carifta Games, the 50th edition of the competition, is still scheduled for Guyana.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com