Over G$120M needed to host CARIFTA Games in 2021- AAG boss
By Akeem Greene
For Guyana to host the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Track and Field Championship in 2021, it will require a budget of G$120 million. That’s the word coming from the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG).
This year’s CARIFTA will be staged in the Cayman Islands from April 20-22, and while Guyana is not 100% certain who will make the team for that meet, they are clear on the way forward if they are to host the following edition of the biennial event.
Aubrey Hutson, President of the AAG told News Room Sport on Wednesday, the hefty figure attached, but indicated that foreign bodies will help to subsidise the cost.
“The average cost should be between US$600,000 to US$700,000 of which we known NACAC would usually contribute $200,000 and the rest is left to us, Government and private sector and the other companies like Flow if they are still apart of CARIFTA to contribute,” Huston explained.
NACAC is the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association.
Given the magnitude of the championships, the AAG head firmly believes the country has the capacity to host a successful event, which will cater for close to 20 nations. It is considered the premier youth athletics showcase in the region.
“Administratively, we noticed some nice buses parked in the Guyana Defence Force compound and would hope they remain as new as that to deal with the transportation logistics. Leonora [National Track and Field Facility] needs upgrading- we may need another stand or two if CARIFTA is going to be here. I think we have adequate hotel accommodation,” Hutson reasoned.
For the 2019 edition, the Cayman Islands government secured title sponsorship. According to CARIFTA 2019 LOC co-chair Joel Francis, “the estimated cost of hosting the championships featuring athletes from across the Caribbean was $1.4 million, with government contributing $200,000 so far.”
At the 2017 edition held in Curacao, Guyana won its biggest medal haul in history, eight medals, inclusive of four gold. The highlight came through Linden’s Compton Caesar, who clocked 10.46 seconds to win the marque 100m. The aim is to replicate such performance both at this year’s edition and two years later on home turf.
“One of the things we are concerned about is that if we host CARIFTA we need the Guyanese athletes on the podium, especially in the middle, a lot more often than when we travel. From an administrative standpoint, I think we can pull it off but I am more concerned with giving our local fans the pleasing performances.”
Apart from the Games, Guyana is expected to host the South American Under-23 Championships in 2020. In 2017, Guyana hosted the South American Under-20 championships, winning 25 medals.