Coach DeVon Bean confident beleaguered Carifta Games can still go ahead
DeVon Bean, the national athletics coach, remains confident the Carifta Games can go ahead in Bermuda this summer despite signs an out-and-out cancellation may be imminent.
As reported by The Royal Gazette on Tuesday the Games, which are scheduled for mid-August, could be cancelled in the coming weeks pending the feedback received by the council of the governing North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association.
“The face of it is going to change, it’s not going to be the Carifta Games everybody knows, but I’m pretty optimistic something is going to transpire,” Bean said yesterday.
“Pushing it back even farther won’t benefit anybody. If it doesn’t come off in August, it’s not going to happen.
“Putting it back would just be too much; [the athletes] would have been training over a year for the Games, and that’s a long time without decent competition.”
Uncertainty has surrounded the Games since an historic first postponement last year. Bermuda remained as the host, but the challenges persist with the Games rescheduled twice — from April to early July and then to the weekend of August 13 to 15.
Plans to host track meets to enable athletes to reach qualifying standards have recently been dashed, while even training had to be stopped after the National Sports Centre was briefly closed two weeks ago.
“We’ve been trying to get in training sessions where we can, but it’s been up to the athletes, as well as the coaches, to come up with alternative arrangements for training,” Bean said.
“Because we can’t meet in large groups, or combine households, the onus is on the athletes to get the workouts done on their own. For the athletes I coach, and other coaches are doing it as well, we are sending out daily workouts which the athletes can do in their house and in their neighbourhoods.
“Just like with any sport, you can be in training shape but if you’re not in competition shape it becomes irrelevant because competition exposes where you are.”
Local track meets were aimed to keep the numbers down and with just a few events. Jumping events were about to be held when bad weather intervened.
“We were fortunate to get some early track meets in, but the biggest problem we’re having now is the athletes training as a team and keeping them motivated,” Bean explained.
“Even as a coach it has become very frustrating with all the starting and stopping. As a national group, and with most clubs, we haven’t trained in about a month.”
Bermuda, as well as some other countries in the Caribbean, has experienced a spike in Covid-19 cases lately, making it difficult to prepare for the Games.
“Talking to a few of my buddies in Jamaica, Bahamas and Anguilla, recently their governments have lifted the ban on meets,” Bean said.
“Bahamas had a few track meets over the past month or so and Jamaica just got the go-ahead to have Carifta trials, so that is something the athletes can look forward to.
“That comes down to each island and we don’t want to compare and look at what they’re doing because their populations are much bigger than ours. Our government is trying their hardest to keep the [Covid] numbers down in Bermuda.
“We couldn’t even expose our athletes to overseas competition this year to get them ready for Carifta, which, in my opinion, helped them tremendously over the last couple of years.”