Jamaica at Carifta Games 2019
Jamaica at Carifta Games 2019

The 2020 Carifta Games has been cancelled. The regional governing body, North and Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Association, decided to cancel the event on Thursday (9 April).

NACAC, in a release on 13 March, said: “Following consultation with the Executive Board of NACAC and the leadership of the Bermuda National Athletics Association it has been mutually agreed to postpone the CARIFTA Games.”

However, after their teleconference meeting on 9 April, NACAC said their “decision is in the best collective interest of our Carifta Family and allows us all an opportunity to support both Bermuda and Guyana in the face of these most trying times.”

The event was scheduled to start 10 April with the opening ceremony and ends on Easter Monday (13 April).

Guyana will host the Carifta Games in 2021.

The coronavirus, which has killed over 95,714 worldwide, caused many events, included the Carifta Games and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to be postponed or cancelled in the last three months.

NACAC Full Release sent by President Mike Sands

Dear Friends

Our Executive convened, online, last Thursday, 9 April 2020. One of the major decisions taken at the meeting was to cancel the Carifta Games 2020. The factors that led to this decision were:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic and its overall impact on the host country as well as all members of the Carifta Family.
  2. The impact on government and private sector plans and budgets for 2020 and perhaps, beyond.
  3. Uncertainty in respect of the re-convening of international travel
  4. Closure of schools and sports facilities thereby impacting athletes’ ability to train and adequately prepare for a delayed edition of the Carifta Games in 2020
  5. Delayed examinations for students at the pre-College stage of their careers
  6. World Athletics has already announced the postponement and/or cancellation of several of its own competitions for 2020, including the World Junior (U-20) Championships.

The Executive therefore agreed to have me, in my capacity as President, engage in discussions with our member federation in Bermuda, the government of Bermuda, the National Olympic Committee (the local representative of Panam Sports) as well as sponsors of the Games of 2020, to ascertain their thinking in respect of the postponement of the Games to Easter of 2021.

The Executive thought that the aforementioned decision would still mean that Bermuda would host the 49th edition of our Carifta Games, leaving the door open for Guyana to continue planning to host the 50th anniversary edition but in 2022. Discussions have begun with all stakeholders in Guyana, craving their understanding and support, given that Bermuda did nothing to lose the annual event and is therefore deserving of being given the opportunity to make good on its commitment, albeit, one year later.

The NACAC Executive believes that our decision is in the best collective interest of our Carifta Family and allows us all an opportunity to support both Bermuda and Guyana in the face of these most trying times. We have an excellent opportunity to work more deliberately together, to show to the world that our annual Carifta Games are indeed, the very best Junior track and field competition, globally.

Today, 14 April 2020, NACAC once more appeals to all of its stakeholders to heed the advice of our medical fraternity and adhere to the established protocols aimed at enhancing our capacity to defeat COVID-19.

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  1. We can’t replace a life lost, but we can explore options that once this plague is lifted how to benefit all those affected. Considering this, I was doing some brainstorming and thought once the games are held in 2021 as put forward then the following among other ideas could be explored just for that year.
    1) Qualifiers once not injured and remain active should be allowed to compete. This would certainly energize those already qualified not to feel they worked in vain.
    2) Change age categories for this “one year” to U-18 and U-21. This would allow those who were in their final year of U-17 and U-20 the opportunity to compete against those they would have in 2020 especially those who this was going to be their final Carifta.
    If member federations and by extension NACAC can explore suggestions like these among others, then we are moving in a pro-active direction in the interest of all those affected. In the meanwhile, although the norm of life has been interrupted, let’s not lose sight this timeout is an opportunity to draw closer to God and seal our decision to keep him as our personal lord and savior.


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