Jamaica to host CARIFTA?

After months of uncertainty a venue has finally been secured for this year’s CARIFTA Games with Ja-maica agreeing to host the annual event, the Nassau Guardian reports .

The region’s marquee junior track and field meet had been under serious threat of being cancelled for the first time in its 40-year history after original hosts St. Kitts opted out of its original bid.

Several potential hosts in-cluding The Bahamas, Trini-dad and Jamaica turned down the chance to stage the event, which is usually held over the Easter weekend.

But yesterday the NACAC president Teddy McCook confirmed that Jamaica had changed their mind and would be holding the CARIFTA Games from April 23-25 after all.

“The 2011 edition, the 40th Junior CARIFTA Games, will take place in Jamaica from April 23-25,” he said. “This has been made possible through the cooperation and approval of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association, despite earlier concerns of the event’s proximity to the very popular Jamaica International Invitational event.

On behalf of the NACAC board I wish to, first, thank all the Federations within and outside our competition area for their interest in making the effort to host the Games.

“It is our sincere hope that we will put all the uncertainty behind us and work with our sponsors to ensure that CARI-FTA 2011, the fortieth, will be an outstanding success.”

Donna Watson, the Bermuda Track and Field Association (BTFA) president said she had “breathed a sigh of relief” with CARIFTA now definitely going ahead.

“This is the Mecca youth athletics event in the Caribbean and that’s where a lot of our athletes get their start,” she said.

“Also for some athletes this would possibly be their only chance to compete in an international event, and for some of our athletes this is their last year for CARIFTA.

“For Bermuda we’re looking at this as a development year to prepare some of our young athletes for next year so that when it’s hosted in Bermuda we cannot only have a large team but a team with quality also.”

Jamaica last hosted the CARIFTA Games in 1996 at the National Stadium, but this time, Catherine Hall multi-purpose stadium in Montego Bay has been identified as the likely venue.

Bermuda will host next year’s CARIFTA Games. The Island last staged the event in 2004 which saw current world record holder Usain Bolt, of Jamaica, become the first junior athlete to break 20 seconds in the 200m in a time of 19.93.

Last year’s Games were held in the Cayman Islands where Bermuda’s team finished fifth out of 25 nations.

For the original report go to http://freeport.nassauguardian.net/sports/34148795695520.php

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