Postponement of CARIFTA Games allows Guyana to be better prepared
By Akeem Greene
President of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG), Aubrey Hutson, is viewing the shifting of the 50th edition of the CARIFTA Games to be hosted in Guyana in 2022 as a blessing in disguise.
Initially, 2021 was earmarked by the North and Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Association, as the year Guyana would host the championships.
However, the coronavirus pandemic meant this year’s edition, which should have been held on April 10-13 in Bermuda, was cancelled and will be held on the island in 2021.
Given the obvious social and health implications of COVID-19, Hutson feels the additional year will aid the local organisers to hopefully plan and execute in a more stable situation.
“With the present political situation in Guyana and with the global economic crisis, it gives our sponsors more elbow room for the stabilisation of world economies and understand where Guyana is as a player in the global market and how effective sponsoring CARIFTA Games in 2020 can have on their businesses.’’
In January 2019, Hutson told News Room Sport in an exclusive interview, hosting the CARIFTA Games will require a budget of G$120 million, but indicated that foreign bodies will help to subsidise the cost.
He stated NACAC would contribute US$200,000 and the rest is left to AAG, Government and the private sector.
“To host CARIFTA Games you need international players, you will need ExxonMobil, you will need [companies like] Coca-Cola and Pepsi; you will need big companies like ESPN to be here so we are viewing from that standpoint,” Hutson stated on Wednesday.
The AAG head said they will continue to invest in their athletes to prepare for the event. Meanwhile, earlier this year, NACAC recommended some structural changes to the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora.
General Secretary of the body, Keith Joseph, noted that it is not normal for the long jump and triple jump pit to be located where it is, that is in the ‘D’. It is, according to Joseph, normally located along the 100m straight or on the back straight.
Approximately 1,500 persons are expected from over 25 participating nations, among them athletes, team officials, technical officials, and NACAC and IAAF representatives.