THE 2021 Carifta Games will not be staged during the traditional Easter weekend. Instead, the regional junior track and field championships will take place between July 2 and 4, in Bermuda.
A media release from the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) said, “NACAC made the decision at a council meeting, on Thursday night. NACAC president Mike Sands explained that the covid19 pandemic was the catalyst for shifting the Carifta dates.
“Time is running out, and the situation is not improving globally. 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."
Sands said NACAC is being cautiously optimistic, but is confident the games will be held.
National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette is not holding his breath that the Carifta Games will be held in July as there is a lot to consider.
He said the new UK covid19 variant, travelling issues and parents' concerns about their children’s safety can heighten the uncertainty of the Games.
“Getting to Bermuda is either through Miami or New York which is high risk,” Serrette said.
Serrette added, for some athletes, end of term examinations may be taking place in early July which can also prove to be challenging.
“Although they say July that is still a critical area because the athletes who normally participate in Carifta around that time is exams...I think exams will play a great factor.
“It also depends on parents. (I am not sure) parents want their children to take that kind of risk.”
In a letter to Bermuda National Athletics Association (BNAA) president Donna Raynor, on Thursday, NACAC general secretary Keith Joseph officially informed the host country of the decision to shift the Carifta dates.
Covid19 had forced cancellation of the 2020 Carifta Games in Bermuda. The BNAA, however, remained committed to the Games and was preparing to host the 2021 edition between April 3 and 5. Covid19, though, remains a challenge, forcing postponement of the three-day meet.
“We are mindful of the challenges with which your country, organisation and all of our Caribbean member federations and their athletes are confronted,” Joseph said in his letter to Raynor.
“We created a position paper in which we stated that our preference was moving the Games to a later date. That first weekend in July is a good weekend for us. It fits in well with our calendar and our school system. School is out in July. It’s the perfect weekend, and the weather will be great in July, not as cold as in April.”
Joseph expressed his gratitude to Raynor, the BNAA and the Bermuda government.
“NACAC stands ready to work with the BNAA to ensure that Bermuda and all of the Carifta family enjoy the benefit of another very successful edition of one of the world of athletics most exciting spectacles, the annual Carifta Games.”