As the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, different sporting disciplines have resumed play around the globe. One such event that will be a go is the 2021 CARIFTA Swimming Championships slated for April 3rd – 6th, 2021, at the Barbados Aquatics Center in Wildey, Christ Church, Barbados.
The event was originally scheduled for Barbados in 2020.
The announcement was made by Tony Selby, President of the Barbados Amateur Swimming Association (BASA). Along with that, CARIFTA will also be a Qualifying Meet for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
“We can also report that Barbados has received approval from FINA (International Swimming Federation) for their Long Course Nationals, March 2nd – 7th, 2021 and CARIFTA April 3rd – 6th, 2021, for these meets to be FINA-approved qualifying meets for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics,” Selby said.
He added: “Several Federations in the Eastern Caribbean do not have 50-meter pools and having CARIFTA as an Olympic Qualifying Meet provides an opportunity for athletes in the region to compete and hopefully achieve Olympic qualifying standards.”
The world was turned upside down as the COVID-19 pandemic became prominent in March of this year. Several big sporting meets were canceled, including the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Games, which was postponed to the Summer of 2021. In addition to that, the 2020 CARIFTA Swimming, Water Polo, and Artistic Swimming along with Open Water Championships were postponed to 2021. Barbados was the host and because they did not host it this past Easter, they were the host for the 2021 Championships. That means that St. Lucia, set to host the Championships in 2021, will now host it in 2022.
“The summons for CARIFTA 2021 has been prepared in the draft and we are awaiting approval from our COVID-19 Task Force, particularly in respect to water polo and artistic swimming. We expect to receive final approvals before the end of November and will inform all Federations as soon as the approvals are received and will issue the summons as soon possible thereafter,” Selby said.
Selby and his team are aware of travel protocols currently in other countries in the region. He sent out consideration to countries who will be participating in the meet.
“A consideration that we can put to regional governments for Caribbean countries that may not be in the CARICOM travel bubble, is that teams intending to participate in CARIFTA be tested (a particular number of days) prior to arrival in Barbados and if negative, the members be permitted to enter Barbados without further tests and return to their countries after their competition,” Selby said.
As of now, Selby also advised that Barbados did not have a community spread of COVID-19. Their government has put protocols in place. They will look to keep it that way as they try to keep the country open.
Barbados has made some changes to its travel protocols that took effect on November 3rd. Some of those changes include adding some countries to the high-risk category. The Bahamas was already in the high-risk category before the new protocols were introduced.