Carifta Games pic
Carifta Games pic

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.

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Anthony Foster is a renowned Jamaican sports journalist, honored twice as the Jamaica sports journalist of the year (in 2004 and 2005). His journalistic achievements are globally recognized. Notably, he authored an award-winning article on Usain Bolt, the iconic 6-time Olympic champion, 11-time World champion, and record holder for the sprint double. This significant piece was published in the Jamaica Gleaner in 2004. Anthony's extensive coverage includes prestigious events such as the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016. He has also provided coverage for seven (7) World Athletics Championships held between 2007 and 2022, alongside various other international sporting events. Noteworthy mentions comprise his coverage of the 2007 World Cup of cricket and his cherished experience reporting on the 2004 clash between his favorite football team, Argentina, and the USA.