July 2-4 confirmed as new date for Carifta Games
The 49th Carifta Games, which was postponed last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been rescheduled for July, the latest the event has ever been held.
Bermuda will still be the hosts of the Games on the weekend of July 2 to 4, after last year’s event was postponed for the first time in its history.
The Games are usually held in April over the Easter weekend, although it has been held as early as March 22 to 24 — in St Kitts in 2008 — and as late as May 4 and 5 in 1973 when the second Games were staged in Trinidad. Bermuda also hosted the event in May when the island staged the event for the second time in 1980 on the weekend of May 3 and 4.
After last year’s postponement, the local organising committee made the decision last April to reschedule the Games for April 2 to 5 of this year. However, there were some recent concerns that the new date might be too soon in light of a spike in positive cases in November and December.
The North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association made the decision to push the date back to July 2 to 4 at a council meeting last night. Mike Sands, the NACAC president, confirmed that the Covid-19 pandemic was the catalyst for shifting the Carifta dates.
“Time is running out, and the situation is not improving globally,” he said in a statement. “The NACAC family, the Carifta family is affected.
“We took a decision at council level to do a survey with membership to determine the best course of action. There were several options for a date change, and we ultimately decided on July 2 to 4.”
Donna Raynor, president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association and head of the local organising committee, was in favour of pushing the Games back to give the organisers more time to prepare.
“Our technical delegate had to look at dates where we could fit Carifta in the NACAC and World Athletics calendar,” she explained.
“So basically those dates are put forward to us by our technical delegate, not dates that we came up. We put together a position paper and our preference was to not have it in April.
“In the survey that was sent out it if the majority came back and said ‛we want to have it in April’, then we would have gone forward with the majority. But in our position paper our preference would be to move it from April to further in the year.”
More than 600 athletes and officials from 27 Caribbean islands will arrive in Bermuda for the Games, one of the most popular junior athletics events in the region.
Athletes who qualified for the 2020 Games will not have to qualify again in the same age group. However, a new qualifying deadline will be set for three weeks before the Games for those who still have not reached qualifying standards.
Some, like Bermuda’s Isabelle Dutranoit, who qualfied last year in the 3,000 metres, will miss out on competing for the last time, as they are now too old for the under-20 age group.