The North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Athletics Association has called upon Jamaica through the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) to host the 2022 CARIFTA Games.
The event has not been held since 2019 when the Cayman Islands were the host. The global COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted one of the Caribbean’s greatest track and field showpieces.
Bermuda had earned the right to host the event in 2020, however, despite a few date changes, it was cancelled because of rising COVID-19 numbers.
The following year (2021) Bermuda got the green light to host but were unable to do so due to a spike in cases. NACAC has taken the decision to cancel based on the Covid-19 regulations outlined by the host nation, Bermuda. The Government of Bermuda required 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated visitors and said this was non-negotiable, making it highly impractical for there to be an Under-17 category as is the norm and for NACAC to stage the region’s premier junior track and field meet.
Garth Gayle, president of the JAAA, when asked of the possibility of Jamaica hosting the CARIFTA Games in 2022, responded: “Very strong.”
“We receive a letter asking us to undertake the hosting, it’s in short order, but we believe we can do it,” said Gayle.
Gayle said the JAAA executive has already given the thumbs up and is now “waiting for government approval.”
The CARIFTA Games, founded by the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) in 1972, is an annual athletics event. The Games has two age categories: under-17 and under-20.
Several world stars such as Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Yohan Blake, Kirani James, Kim Collins, Anderson Peters, and Keshon Walcott have all competed successfully at the CARIFTA Games.
Jamaica last hosted the CARIFTA Games in 2011 at the Montego Sports Complex in St. James.
“We believe as an association, we have the skillset and all the necessary things to make it a successful CARIFTA Games,” president Gayle promised.