AAG lobbying for CARIFTA to be held July 2021

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By Akeem Greene

Mike Sands, President of the North and Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Association, the organising body for the CARIFTA Track and Field Championships, was on Tuesday quoted in the Barbados Nation as saying this year’s event will not be cancelled and will go ahead in Hamilton, Bermuda.

The norm is for it to be staged during the Easter Weekend, with this year’s championship being April 3-5; however, due to possible travel restrictions, the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) President, Aubrey Hutson, has indicated they are lobbying for a July date.

“Guyana supports the decision that it should be held in 2021, but we are opting to push it back a little later, like around July as against having it in April because with all the traveling that has to be done, we don’t think that the host country will be well equipped and in the planning be able to deal with COVID-19 between now and April,” Hutson related to News Room Sport on Wednesday.

AAG president Aubrey Hutson

From an athlete standpoint, the AAG head said they are most raring to go and the coaches are looking for local meets to assess areas that need improvement.

“We have been encouraging them to stay in training and stay fit, and with my discussion with most of the coaches, these athletes are just raring to go, but we need competitions to assess them. We need these Developmental meets to assess whether it is their drive phase they need to work on or their endurance.”

The AAG had released a proposed 2021 calendar of activities in which they had a Developmental meet scheduled for January 17 in Linden, followed by the first CARIFTA trials on January 31 at Leonora.

Hutson indicated they will seek an audience with the Minister of Health to ascertain the local protocols they must establish since they have already met the criteria set out by World Athletics.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of what would have been the 60th National Schools Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships, last November.

Though the time of the year the event is staged is still up for debate, it acts as a filter for new talents into the various clubs in Guyana.

Coaches then refine the raw talent and some go on to represent the country at the prestigious games.

“It is one of the best breeding grounds for fresh athletes…that’s how most of the clubs have been getting members through that system. So no Nationals meant a lot of new athletes, primarily ages 10-14, would not have come to the fore.”

CARIFTA is primarily an Under-17 and Under-20 championship.

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