President of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), Bahamian Mike Sands, in his view he would not want to go beyond August for the hosting of the 2020 CARIFTA Games.
In an interview that appeared in The Nassau Guardian, Sands revealed at this point, in the face of the growing COVID-19 pandemic, CARIFTA – the biggest and most popular annual junior athletics championships in this region – remains postponed. It is generally held over the Easter holiday weekend and has never gone beyond early May in the 49-year history of the event. The meet has never been canceled.
Sands said Bermuda remains ready to host, but the logistics of moving the event from one period to another is not an easy task. The meet was initially set for April 10-13 at the Bermuda National Sports Center. However, due to the danger posed by the spread off the novel coronavirus, it has been postponed.
Sands said the health and well-being of the many young athletes in the region, meet officials, supporters and everyone connected with the CARIFTA Games, remains their primary concern.
“We have had discussions with the organizers and it has been suggested that in order for us to put this on, it would require the involvement of all of the major stakeholders. No decision has been made as it regards to that yet, and all I could say is that we wouldn’t want to go past August,” said Sands. “The local organizers are still set on holding it this year but [a] lot of things have to be taken into consultation before that is done. This is something that requires the involvement of member federations, athletes and coaches, and is something that requires additional discussions. Right now, we’re just taking it day by day and week by week. Salvaging some of the athletic season is certainly our hope but that depends on how quickly we could resume our lives to some normal degree, but for now, CARIFTA remains postponed.”
“With what is going now, if CARIFTA still does take place late in the year, there is no telling what level of competition you will have because a number of athletes have shut it down. It is not out of the realm of possibility for it to be held late in the year, but we would not want to go beyond the end of August. At this time, it’s a wait-and-see game,” said Sands.
Next year is shaping up to be a huge year for sports with a number of events already postponed worldwide. It could be the first time that the Olympics and the World Athletics (WA) World Championships, formerly the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships, are held in the same year. The WA World Indoor Championships have also been postponed to 2021.