Mike Sands, new NACAC president and IAAF Area Representative.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#Like the 2020 Olympic Games, which has been called off until next year, the 2020 CARIFTA Games has now been postponed until 2021.
#Newly elected North American, Central American and Caribbean President Mike Sands said during a meeting on Thursday, it was agreed that the region’s biggest junior track and field meet will not be held any time this year due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
#NACAC and the local organising committee in Bermuda had previously agreed to postpone the games, which was originally scheduled for this weekend in Hamilton, Bermuda.
#Sands said it was the view of the joint bodies that they could attempt to hold the three-day meet before the end of August.
#However, he said when they discussed the matter last week, they came to the following conclusion:
#1 The COVID-19 pandemic and its overall impact on the host country as well as all members of the CARIFTA family.
#2 The impact on government and private sector plans and budgets for 2020 and perhaps, beyond.
#3 Uncertainty in respect of the re-convening of international travel.
#4 Closure of schools and sports facilities thereby impacting athletes’ ability to train and adequately prepare for a delayed edition of the CARIFTA Games in 2020.
#5 Delayed examinations for students at the pre-college stage of their careers.
#World Athletics has already announced the postponement and/or cancellation of several of its own competitions for 2020, including the World Junior (Under-20) Championships.
#“The executives therefore agreed to have me, in my capacity as president, engage in discussions with our member federation in Bermuda, the government of Bermuda, the National Olympic Committee (the local representative of Panam Sports) as well as sponsors of the Games of 2020, to ascertain their thinking in respect of the postponement of the Games to Easter of 2021,” Sands said.
#The executives thought that the aforementioned decision would still mean that Bermuda would host the 49th edition of our CARIFTA Games, leaving the door open for Guyana to continue planning to host the 50th anniversary edition but in 2022.”
#Sands said discussions have begun with all stakeholders in Guyana, craving their understanding and support, given that Bermuda did nothing to lose the annual event and is therefore deserving of being given the opportunity to make good on its commitment, albeit, one year later.
#The NACAC Executive believes that our decision is in the best collective interest of our CARIFTA family and allows us all an opportunity to support both Bermuda and Guyana in the face of these most trying times,”Sands said. “We have an excellent opportunity to work more deliberately together, to show to the world that our annual CARIFTA Games are, indeed, the very best junior track and field competition, globally.”
#NACAC, according to Sands, once more appeals to all of its stakeholders to heed the advice of their medical fraternity and adhere to the established protocols aimed at enhancing our capacity to defeat COVID-19.
#Last month, the International Olympic Committee, in conjunction with the Local Organising Committee of Japan and the Japanese Government, agreed to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for July 24 to August 9, to July 23 to August 8, 2021.
#The Olympics and now the CARIFTA Games are the first two major international events that have been called off this year and will now take place next year.
#World Athletics, which governs the sport of track and field, has agreed to the postponements.