CARIFTA’s not on track

There is an outside chance that the Cayman Islands may host the CARIFTA Games track tournament for the second successive year because St. Kitts, the original choice, decided just before Christmas not to host it.

This year’s CARIFTA Games scheduled for 22-24 April is in serious jeopardy of suffering a historic cancellation. This follows a number of potential hosts turning down the chance to stage the region’s marquee junior track and field meet, which is traditionally held over the Easter weekend.

It would be the first time in its 40-year history that the CARIFTA Games, the first international exposure for the region’s top junior athletes, would not be staged. And with only three months to go, a decision must be made soon.

The Bahamas was looking over the possibility of staging the meet, but track officials in Nassau took a firm decision last Thursday not to host the event that attracts close to 1,000 athletes, plus a complementary number of officials.

Bahamas withdrew their candidature because they had not received a written commitment from the North America, Central America & Caribbean Track & Field Association with less than three months to go before the meet.

Trinidad and Tobago are a potential host, but Ephraim Serrette, president of Trinidad’s National Amateur Athletic Association, has emphatically stated that the twin-island republic is also not in a position to stage the meet.

He claimed that a host needs over a year for proper planning, and it would be impossible to stage the event now. That’s despite Cayman successfully hosting CARIFTA last year on only seven months’ notice.

Jamaica also turned down the chance to stage the Games because it fell too near to its International Invitational two weeks later and they feel they do not have the capacity to host two major events so close to each other.

Rayle Roberts, president of the Cayman Islands Athletic Association, said: “We probably won’t host the Games this year unless there is a strong injection of funds from NACAC. It’s too late to get major sponsors in and it is very expensive to stage. The cheapest place to stage it is probably the eastern Caribbean so it could be Trinidad, although the Bahamas is still a possibility.”