Jamaica to replace Guyana as hosts of 2022 Carifta Games
Jamaica looks set to host the Carifta Games in 2022, on the 50th anniversary of the event, after hosts Guyana asked to stage the event the following year instead.
The Games, which started in Barbados in 1972, had the first two postponements in its history in 2020 and 2021 when Bermuda was twice unable to hold the event for a fifth time because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Having to cancel the event twice was a major disappointment for Donna Raynor, the then president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association who recently stood down from the position, with the 2020 event first postponed just a month prior to the Games schedule date of April 9 to 13.
Now Jamaica appears to be the next venue for the 49th Games, according to an article in The Jamaica Observer, with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association confident of getting approval to stage the Games in April.
Jamaica was asked at short notice by the Carifta Congress to take over hosting duties after Guyana, the original 2022 hosts, informed the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association they would not be able to host it next year.
The JAAA executive has accepted the offer to host the Games for the first time since 2011, when it was held in Montego Bay, and was now awaiting approval from Government.
“The JAAA executive has met, and we have fully discussed the matter and has given its blessing for us to take on the mandate offered by NACAC to host the Games,” JAAA president Garth Gayle said.
“We are now awaiting the Government's approval, and we are working assiduously with the Government and the government entities to make Carifta Games 2022 a reality in Jamaica.”
Jamaica has hosted the Games six times, including five times in Kingston.
Yesterday, Freddie Evans, the new president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association welcomed the news that the 49th Carifta Games looks set go ahead in April.
I looks set to be hosted by the most successful country at Carifta, with Jamaica the top team in 43 of the 48 events, with Bermuda winning medals on home soil in 1975 and Bahamas leading the medals in 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1994.
Jamaica has been the top country in the last 35 Carifta Games.
“Regrettably in August, the administration of NACAC got word from Guyana that they would not be able to host the Carifta Games in 2022, although they wanted to be considered for 2023,” Evans said.
“They withdrew and so NACAC reached around the governing bodies to determine if anybody could help out.
“They haven’t finalised it but I know that the president and general secretary have been to Jamaica and met with the Jamaica sports minister and the president of the JAAA and it looks very likely that it will be in Jamaica in April.”
Asked how he felt about the Games returning after a two-year absence, Evans replied: “I feel for the athletes as in your athletic career you only have so many opportunities and Carifta has been a launch pad for so many of our young people to get scholarship opportunities to go on to university.
“It may even be their first and last chance to compete internationally.
“In two years it has been left in limbo and I empathise with Isabelle Dutranoit who would have been in Bermuda [to compete] after her gold medal in the Cayman Islands.”
Dutranoit won the gold medal in the open 3,000 metres as Bermuda picked up six medals at the last Carifta Games in 2019. She was looking forward to competing on home soil the following year but has now “aged out” as have Ryan Outerbridge and Mikal Dill.
“Isabelle was set to become a track and field star for Bermuda, Ryan was more than ready for his last Carifta and our girls relay team got a medal in Cayman and would have come back one year later stronger and faster,” Evans added.
That relay team of Caitlyn Bobb, Keturah Bulford-Trott, Sanaa Rae Morris and Za’Kayza Parsons won the bronze in the under-17 4x100 metres, the first relay medal for Bermuda at Carifta in more than 30 years.