Amidst the suspensions and postponements of sporting activities locally, regionally and internationally, the Bahamas Aquatics Federation (BAF) has backed out of the hosting of the 2020 CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation) Championships. The championships were originally set for June 24 to July 3 at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex, and there has been no talk of a possible postponement just yet.
BAF President Algernon Cargill confirmed the decision of The Bahamas to withdraw its host application.
“With the outbreak of the Coronavirus together with all the unknowns associated with that, we decided it’s best not to incur a significant expense. I advised CCCAN last week Thursday that The Bahamas regrettably would be unable to host the CCCAN Championships,” Cargill said.
Despite not hosting the prestigious swimming event, Cargill stated that The Bahamas will participate provided that there is no major threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bahamas finished the 2019 CCCAN Championships in Wildey, Barbados, with 29 total medals – nine gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze.
Cargill, a former four-year vice president of CCCAN, said the regional body accepts the host withdrawal and is in the tedious process of finding a new host.
“They understand and are having difficulty finding another host,” Cargill said. “Countries do not want to commit to a meet in July not knowing the consequences. Hosting a meet of that size requires months and months of planning. It is not something that you do overnight. To move to the stage of saying ‘yes, we’ll host’ without knowing what is going to happen with the coronavirus three months from now – that’s not something we are able to commit to and a lot of countries might be in the same situation.”
According to Cargill, they were in the planning stages for the CCCAN Championships up until recently, having already negotiated hotel rates and setting up local committees.
As it relates to a possible postponement or cancellation of the event, Cargill said it’s a decision that the CCCAN board will have to make.
The CCCAN Championships is the final qualifier for athletes from this region for the Olympics. Athletes outside of the region looking to qualify for the Olympics are invited to participate as well. There was a lot of global appeal in that meet among athletes, according to Cargill. He said they are still preparing for their nationals, which is also an Olympic qualifying meet.
The BAF President said he is disappointed that they are unable to host the CCCAN and equally disappointed that they won’t be able to defend their title at the CARIFTA Championships next month. The Bahamas has won three straight CARIFTA swimming titles, and five of the last six.
The Barbados Aquatic Sport Association (BASA) issued a press release over the weekend regarding the postponement of the CARIFTA Aquatics Championships.
The release stated that the decision came about as a measure to safeguard the health and well-being of the athletes, officials and supporters.
Those championships were slated for April 3-15. The new date will be released at a later time.
The Bahamas had already selected the water polo teams, the open water team and the swimming team for those championships.
With the postponement, The Bahamas still has a chance to win four straight swimming titles and six in seven years. In water polo, the under-16 boys team will have a chance to defend its title from a year ago.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism