KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Jamaica will stage this year’s CARIFTA Games after all.
The North American, Central American, and Caribbean Track & Field Association, under whose auspices the Games are held, disclosed late on Thursday that the Catherine Hall Multiplex in Montego Bay would be the venue for the Games.
The decision meant that track & field officials in Jamaica have backtracked on their stance about staging this year’s CARIFTA Games from April 23 to 25.
NACAC noted that the decision was made possible “through the co-operation and approval of the Jamaica Athletic Association, despite their earlier concern of the event’s proximity to the very popular Jamaica International Invitational.”
Media reports earlier in the day had indicated that the Jamaicans were ready to stage the Games if no one else in the region was prepared to take on the responsibility.
“We have been approached, but no final decision has been taken yet, because we are waiting to find out if one of those French islands, Martinique or Guadeloupe, will host it,” said an official source.
“If nobody is prepared to host it, we will have to host it. We know the importance of the CARIFTA Games, so we could not allow it not to take place.”
Track & field officials in the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique had been courted as the last choices to stage the event – and it would appear negotiations with them also broke down.
The Games looked in danger of being cancelled for the first time in four decades, after St Kitts gave notice late last year that they were unable to meet their obligations in staging the event.
Attempts to get Jamaica, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, or Turks & Caicos Islands to host had all failed – but the Jamaicans thankfully have relented.
The CARIFTA Games is the marquee junior track & field meet in the region, and is the first exposure for young regional athletes to serious international competition.