Bermuda on track to host CARIFTA Games despite coronavirus threat
HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) – President of the Bermuda National Athletics Association (BNAA) Donna Raynor says next month’s CARIFTA Games, set to attract more than 600 athletes from 27 Caribbean countries, should not be affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is spreading across the globe.The virus has reached non-English-speaking Caribbean countries, with a few cases in the Dominican Republic, Martinique, Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy.The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, scheduled for July 24 to August 9, is under threat due to the spread of COVID-19 globally.But as Bermuda prepares to host the 49th CARIFTA Games – the fifth time the island will be the location for the event – Raynor said she did not expect the COVID-19 situation would disrupt the staging.“As of now, all systems are set for CARIFTA, the countries are having their final trials … and we’re all moving ahead as if it is going to take place,” she told the Royal Gazette newspaper.Raynor added that the matter was addressed at a recent meeting of the local organising committee (LOC).“Fortunately for us, most of the athletes are coming in from the Caribbean and flying in on charters, not flying through the United States …. We’re just really keeping our fingers crossed that we can get through the next couple of weeks and that CARIFTA is on,” Raynor said, adding that she was hoping none of the countries would pull out of the April 10-13 games.“I just want to have the event; we’ve put a lot of work into it and are ready to go. Hopefully we can get CARIFTA off the ground.”The BNAA will this weekend host a two-day trial meet at the National Sports Centre which is the venue for the CARIFTA Games. It will be the final opportunity for local athletes to reach qualifying standards ahead of the March 16 deadline.The Games, held under the auspices of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), features 150 separate events.Meantime, the International Triathlon Union has confirmed that the April 18-19 MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda will go ahead as planned.The Bermuda event is the next on the seven-series circuit that will culminate in the World Championships and Grand Finals in Edmonton, Canada in August.