Bermuda To Host 2012 CARIFTA Games

July 11, 2010

197834_track_and_fieldWord comes this evening [July 11] that Bermuda has been awarded the right to host the 2012 CARIFTA Games after the Bahamas, who was bidding against us, pulled out. Attending the NACAC Congress reading the letter and presenting from the Ministry was the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Ellen-Kate Horton.

Bermuda last hosted the event in 2004, which saw the start of the rise of now record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica who became the first junior athlete to break 20 seconds in the 200 metres, with his winning time of 19.93 set in Bermuda. Bermuda previously hosted the event on two separate occasions; 1980 and 1975.

The 2010 Carifta Games were held in the Cayman Islands, and saw Bermuda’s team finishing in a very impressive 5th spot overall out of the 25 nations competing, having earned a combined eleven medals.

Bermuda has the distinction of having the longest held record of the CARIFTA Games, courtesy of Sonia Smith, whose 1979 mark of 53.98m in the javelin has withstood three decades of competition.

The CARIFTA Games is an annual athletics competition founded by the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). The games was first held in 1972 and consists of track and field events in two age categories: under-17 and under-20. Only countries associated with CARIFTA may compete in the multi-sport event. CARIFTA has seen many world class champions come through the competition including Usain Bolt of Jamaica, Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica, Obadele Thompson of Barbados, Debbie Ferguson of the Bahamas and many more.

The meet is considered one of the best development meets in world athletics. College and university coaches and scouts from the United States make their way to the CARIFTA Games each year, in a bid to identify up-and-coming athletes.

The CARIFTA participating countries are; Anguilla, Haiti, Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica, Aruba, Martinique, Bahamas, Montserrat, Barbados, Netherlands Antilles, Bermuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Cayman Islands, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Dominica, Suriname, French Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Turks & Caicos Islands, Guadeloupe, US Virgin Islands and Guyana.

Update July 12: Statement from Sports Minister Glenn Blakeney:

I am thrilled to announce that Bermuda will once again host the CARIFTA Games. The last time we hosted the games in 2004 was hailed a tremendous success by organizers, participants, coaches and visitors. And who can forget seeing the young Usain Bolt light up our local track at the National Stadium when he was just 17 years old setting a Junior world record in the 200 metres in a time of 19.93 seconds which still stands today. Perhaps we will see the next track and field superstar grace our shores in 2012.

The BTFA are to be commended for having the vision and the courage to host the event again, especially during these difficult economic times and more importantly during an Olympic year. This means that our promising young athletes will have an opportunity to showcase their talent on local soil whilst striving to qualify for the Olympic Games which will be held in England. As Minister I can assure the BTFA and all sports fans in Bermuda that the Government will do all it can to ensure that CARIFTA will be a success and the perfect launching pad for the Olympic Games.

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