CARIFTA Games age limit unlikely to change, says Hutson

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By Akeem Greene

Despite the decision to shift this year’s CARIFTA Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, President of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG), Aubrey Hutson, is doubtful any changes will be made to the current age structure.

The CARIFTA Track and Field championship caters for Under-17 and Under-20 athletes, meaning it is considered a junior athletic event.

Due to the move, athletes who would have qualified for the event, which was slated for April 10-13 in Bermuda, could possibly to have to go through trials again and those who go over the U-20 barrier might not be allowed to compete next year.

President of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG), Aubrey Hutson

“The question is if they are going to move it up to Under-18 and Under-21. I don’t think so because they will want to maintain it as a junior championship. We know with football at the Olympics they will allow some Under-24 players to move in because they would have been Under-23 for Olympics [this year], but I don’t think CARIFTA will go in that direction,” Hutson told News Room Sport on Tuesday after it was revealed the 2020 edition was cancelled.

This year’s Games, which was supposed to be the 49th staging, was scheduled for Bermuda, where it will still be hosted in 2021 and then Guyana in 2022.

Hutson added, “I don’t want to pre-empt what moves they [North and Central American and Caribbean Track and Field Association] will make, but they have not given us any indication that they plan to move to Under-18 and Under-21. It is going to be a junior championship and I think they will maintain the Under-17 and Under-20 age group categories.”

When some of the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the AAG President said they will meet with coaches and plan the road to 2021. It is a situation he believes will give coaches more time to prepare.

“Unless CARIFTA would have moved the age group, we just cannot hold junior athletes for a total of one year, qualifying one year and going and compete in the other year. Their fitness levels, their injury situations may come into play; for me it means new trials all over.”

Twelve athletes had qualified from Guyana, 11 locally-based and Kenisha Phillips in the United States of America. The AAG head wants all athletes to upkeep their personal training in a safe manner so whenever the season reconvenes, they will still be close to their best physical shape.

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