HAMILTON,
Bermuda (Bernews)
– The preparations for the 2012 CARIFTA Games are on
schedule, Sports Minister Glenn Blakeney said last week. The Games are expected
to attract over 500 athletes and over 100 officials from some 26 countries.
The
Minister’s full statement follows below:
Good Afternoon,
I am most elated to be here today as
Bermuda looks forward with anticipation to hosting the LIME CARIFTA Games from
April 6-9th, 2012 here at the Bermuda National Sports Centre.
It is most worthy to note that is the
venue where Usain Bolt broke the World Junior 200m record on the track in 2004
and here at our National Sports Centre is where the spotlight of the world will
be on some of Bermuda’s top sportsmen and women and indeed some of the world’s
best track and field athletes from the Caribbean.
The preparations for the games are on
schedule. We have received our preliminary entries and expecting over 500
athletes and over 100 officials to attend this event, when some 26 countries
are expected to compete. Tickets are selling well and we are expecting a full
house with close to 4000 persons each day including several overseas guests.
Not only is the preparation of the event
going well but so is the preparation of our local athletes. We are looking
exceedingly forward to them putting on a superb show in front of our home
crowd.
The CARIFTA Games is an annual junior
athletics competition founded by Barbadian Austin Sealy in 1972. The Games has
its origins in the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), which was made
up primarily of countries from the English-speaking Caribbean.
In 1972, when the CARIFTA was enlarged to
include non-English speaking countries of the Caribbean, namely the French and
Dutch speaking nations, became known as CARICOM.
The Games consists of most of the Track
& Field disciplines involving running, jumping and throwing and has two
age-group categories, namely Under 17 and Under 20 for both male and female
competitors.
The Games are meant to enhance
relationships between the countries and impress upon all, the commonality of
purpose shared between the Islands.
The Games, run entirely under
International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Rules, are traditionally
staged over the Easter weekend every year in one of the member states or
associate states of CARICOM.
The Games are arguably the most important
regional Junior Athletic Championship outside of the World Youth or World
Junior Championships. College and university coaches and scouts from the United
States of America travel to the Games every year to identify potential athletes
for their schools’ athletic programs.
The Games have produced a plethora of
World Record holders and World Track & Field Champions and Stars over the
years. Indeed over 30 Olympic Games medalists can trace their origins to the
Carifta Games.
The Games will be held in Bermuda for the
fourth time, the previous Games being held here in 1975, 1980 and 2004.
Before I conclude my remarks today, let me
take this opportunity to encourage everyone to attend what promises to be a
very exciting event, which I strongly encourage the entire Island to come and
support.
Thank you.

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