Jamaica to host CARIFTA
It is confirmed. The 40th Annual Caribbean Free Trade Association(CARIFTA) Track and Field Championships will be hosted in Jamaica.
President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations(BAAA)Mike Sands revealed the news after numerous articles surfaced about the championships being canceled.
Sands said: ”Jamaica, the home of North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association(NACAC)President Mr. Teddy McCook, has confirmed through the NACAC office that they will host the championships.
“I would hope that the recent back-and-forth as to who would host did not stop athletes and coaches from training, because that should not be their concern. It was the concern of the governing bodies whether or not the games would be taking place. It was not the concern of any coach or athlete, so I would hope that no one would have broken their training cycle because of all the uncertainity that surrounded the event. Right now, I am not overly concerned that performances would be affected. As a matter of fact, I would now like to think that because the uncertainties seem to be clear, that all athletes and coaches will now be motivated and focused on meeting the qualifying standards. This is the biggest junior meet in the region. It is the most prestigious junior meet in the region and arguably the world.”
Sands said The Bahamas was approached by President Neville’Teddy’McCook after St. Kitts and Nevis as well as Jamaica said they were not able to host the event. The 2011 bid was originally won by St. Kitts and Nevis. At a regional meet last year, it was learnt that St. Kitts was not in a position to host the event. Jamaica then tried to step in but was unable to do so. The Bahamas was then asked to host the event, and according to Sands, made a great effort in trying to assist. Even though The Bahamas was unable to do so, Sands said the chances of hosting the games in the future will not be in jeopardy.
He said: ”I don’t think they will be, not at all, because you must understand that The Bahamas was not the original host of the 2011 CARIFTA Games. The original host was St. Kitts. It needs to be very clear that St. Kitts withdrew and Jamaica was supposed to have hosted but at some point they withdrew. The president then asked us if we could consider it. We did so by preparing the budget and everything else. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive all of the information from the NACAC office that would have permitted the government and the ministry, in a timely manner, to make the necessary budgetary plans or considerations for The Bahamas to host the games. As a result of that, we wanted to ensure that the integrity of The Bahamas, the BAAA and the games were maintained. We thought it would be best to withdraw from the hosting of the games. When you accept to put on an event of that magnitude the world is watching and you must ensure that all the necessary components are in place, so that the games will be totally successful. We were not satisfied that the relevant information was forthcoming so that justice to the games would be done. We were not the original hosts ofthe games, that must be clear. We were stepping in as requested to assist the games when the two original countries backed out.”
Countries such as the Turks and Caicos Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago were also approached, according to Sands. The championships are held yearly during the Easter holiday weekend.