Thu | Dec 9, 2021

NACAC behind Jamaica hosting Carifta

Published:Tuesday | October 19, 2021 | 12:08 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
The National Stadium in Kingston is the likeliest venue for the Carifta Games next year, should the Government grant approval for its hosting.
The National Stadium in Kingston is the likeliest venue for the Carifta Games next year, should the Government grant approval for its hosting.

North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) President Mike Sands says that he has confidence in Jamaica’s ability to host next year’s Carifta Games, pending approval from the Government. Jamaica has been asked to...

North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) President Mike Sands says that he has confidence in Jamaica’s ability to host next year’s Carifta Games, pending approval from the Government.

Jamaica has been asked to host the 2022 edition in place of Guyana who informed NACAC of its inability to host the games recently. This year’s staging which was supposed to have taken place in Bermuda was cancelled because of concerns regarding COVID-19 in the country. This was after the event was postponed twice.

Sands said that discussions were held recently with the executive of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and Sport Minister Olivia Grange regarding the matter, saying NACAC’s immediate concern is actually whether the Government will approve.

“At the end of the day, Jamaica has a history and a track record of being able to host events,” Sands told The Gleaner. “That is the least of our worries. Our biggest obstacle right now is to get the go-ahead that Jamaica is able to accept it through the office of the sport minister, with government support. And I think everyone is raring to go once we can get the go-ahead.”

The competition, which takes place every April, is in its second year of inactivity because of the pandemic. If approved, it would be the seventh time that Jamaica will host the event. Jamaica last staged the competition in 2011 in Montego Bay.

ENCOURAGEMENT

Sands says that Jamaica’s protocols for starting the track and field season, including this year’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics’ Championships, gave him encouragement about Jamaica’s competence and says the financial and organisational support will be granted in this endeavour once it has the Government’s blessing.

“NACAC has limited funds available that are earmarked for various events and, of course, we will provide any financial assistance that we can, but we will certainly provide organisational and technical assistance from our structure,” he said. “Those are the easy parts. The hardest part is to get the approval.”

Jamaica Track and Field Coaches Association President David Riley says it will require more measures to accommodate a regional meet, with vaccination rates and the current situation delaying the approval process, while not disputing Jamaica’s ability to host.

“International competition is a little different because you have people coming in,” he said. “It is going to be tricky. One of the challenges is the various requirements for when people land. We had a situation with our National Trials where some provisions were made for the athletes who were coming from overseas regarding COVID-19 testing and so on. The Ministry of Health is proceeding based on what they are comfortable with and what the local situation is.”

Sands did not indicate any plans for a vaccination mandate similar to what was proposed in Bermuda, opting to be led by any directive that the local authorities will make.

“We have to be guided by the health authorities within the jurisdiction and so it will be difficult for me to even suggest or to summarise what those requirements may be,” he said. “So I do not want to even speculate. We have to be guided by that and take into consideration what will be in the best interest of the sport.”

Calls to JAAA President Garth Gayle for comment went unanswered.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com