Carifta Games rescheduled for April 2021
The local organising committee of the 49th Carifta Games finally bowed to the inevitable yesterday, pulling the plug on any possibility that the athletics festival would be held this year.
The games, which had been scheduled for April 9 to 13 in Bermuda but were first postponed on March 13 until “later this year” because of the growing threat of the novel coronavirus, will be now staged from April 2 to 5, 2021.
Donna Raynor, the president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association and chairwoman of Carifta Games 2020, made the announcement after consultation with the governing body World Athletics, the Bermuda Government and the Carifta family of nations.
“We feel this is in the best interest of all, especially the athletes,” she said. “These are unprecedented times and everything is so unpredictable. We are disappointed, as we were so prepared to host these Games.”
The spread of Covid-19 has reached catastrophic levels, with more than 125,000 deaths worldwide, including five in Bermuda, and prospects for international sporting events through the year greatly receding.
Ms Raynor, who noted that 2020 branding would remain the same, added that decisive factors in postponing the event included the uncertainty around travel, the inability of athletes to train adequately, and delayed examination schedules for students planning to head off to college.
An unintended consequence of delaying the games means older athletes may have lost out on the dream of competing on home soil in the under-20 event.
“This will have to be discussed at the [North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association] executive level and then the countries will chime in,” Ms Raynor said. “It will probably come down to a vote [to determine if 2020 athletes retain their age-group eligibility].”
Sports minister Lovitta Foggo, who recently reopened the newly refurbished track at the National Sports Centre, said: “The Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport supports the decision to postpone the Carifta Games until 2021.
“We continue to adhere to the guidelines of the global and local health experts and professionals and will continue to put the health, safety and wellbeing of our young people as the highest priority.
“In 2021, we will be ready and prepared to host a spectacular Carifta Games.”
Guyana, the original 2021 host, will be the venue for the 2022 games.