After months of uncertainty, The
Gleaner understands that Jamaica will, after all, host this year’s troubled
Carifta Games, in the second city of Montego Bay between 23-25 April.
The annual track and field
championships, which is the first real international exposure for the region’s
top junior athletes, was in danger of being cancelled for the first time in its
39-year history, after original host St Kitts backed out of its original bid to
host the meet.
Jamaica was soon afterwards
identified by The North American, Central American, and Caribbean (NACAC) Track
& Field Association president Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook as a possible
alternative, but local authorities were reluctant to take on the responsibility
at the time, due the closeness of the meet to their own International
Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Challenge JN International
Invitational meet scheduled for the National Stadium a mere two weeks later.
Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and
several other regional territories had also reportedly been close to stepping
in to host the games but also decided to pull out at the last minute.
However, high level Jamaica Amateur
Athletic Association (JAAA) sources have reliably informed that a decision has
been taken to sanction the staging of the meet in Jamaica.
The source, who requested
anonymity, highlighted the importance of the meet to the development of the
region’s athletes and underlined that the association could not stand by and
watch the meet continue to be thrown around in uncertainty.
It not clear how active a role the
JAAA will play in the hosting of the meet given its obligations towards the JN
International Invitational but it is certain that they will definitely
facilitate the country’s seventh hosting of the highly respected meet. The last
time the country hosted the Carifta Games was in 1996 in Kingston.
The Catherine Hall
multi-purpose stadium in Montego Bay has been suggested as the likely venue.