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Carifta Swimming Championships postponed

The Carifta Swimming Championships has become the latest sporting event to fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the announcement that the March 26 to April 7 event in Barbados has been postponed.

No new date has been set, Cheryl Forde, president of the Barbados Swimming Association, said yesterday.

“It is with greatest regret that I must inform you that Carifta 2021 will not take place in Barbados as scheduled for March 26 -April 7,” Forde said yesterday in a letter to other countries in the region.

“An executive decision was taken this evening by the BASA to postpone Carifta 2021 after a review of the current Covid-19 situation in Barbados and, by extension, in the region. It was agreed that a new date would be decided after the "national pause" lockdown that is expected to end on February 17, and after we have had an opportunity to meet with the Covid-19 monitoring unit.

Bermuda's swimmers will miss out on the Caribbean Swimming Championships for a second year running unless a new date can be found (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“In the absence of a vaccine, with the new variant present in Barbados, community spread locally, the general spiking of Covid-19 cases in neighbouring countries and changing travel protocols locally and in a number of our neighbouring countries, it was agreed that it would be prudent to postpone this regional competition at this time.”

Forde continued: “We regret the inconvenience this will cause but we believe we have given consideration to the importance of keeping everyone safe in this very difficult environment. In addition, protocols outlined in the summons would no longer apply.

“We assure you that we will move swiftly to have them reviewed as soon as possible and will have updated information for you by the end of February, if not sooner. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to working together to make Carifta 2021 a reality.”

Ben Smith, the national swimming coach, admits the postponement will be a big blow for the Bermuda swimmers who were looking forward to participating in Barbados.

“Bermuda Swimming knows that our athletes will be disappointed in this announcement, but we all knew this was a real possibility,” Smith said.

“We will continue to work towards a full return to swimming in Bermuda following the phase returned to sport policy. We will look towards local swimming championships in order to motivate the local swimmers towards performance while we await the return to normal international competition when it is safe.”

This marks the second postponement of the event in Barbados after the decision was made last March to postpone the April 2020 event as a precaution once a pandemic was declared by the World Health Organisation.

The Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association still announced a 17-member team in the hopes the championships would be rescheduled for later in the year.

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Published January 28, 2021 at 2:30 pm (Updated January 29, 2021 at 10:39 am)

Carifta Swimming Championships postponed

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