Sports Minister Patrick Simmons

Sports Minister Patrick Simmons

by Michael Bascombe

ST GEORGE’S, January 27, 2011 – Grenada’s Sports Minister Patrick Simmons is calling for regional
governments to collectively discuss the situation of this year’s Junior CARIFTA Games.

The annual track and field championships are in danger of being cancelled for the first time in 40 years after original hosts St Kitts and Nevis gave notice late last year that they were unable to stage the games.

Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Bahamas were identified as potential hosts but they all turned down the offer.

Simmons, who coached a number of Grenadian athletes including former world indoor 400m champion Alleyne Francique and triple jumper Randy Lewis, said that the region’s young athletes should not be denied the opportunity to compete among themselves even if it’s a scaled-down version.

He said that regional governments need to intervene urgently noting that there is less than three months left to prepare to stage the games.

“Grenada as chair of CARICOM will initiate discussions with other regional governments to see what can be done to assist in the staging of the games,” he said.

“The CARIFTA Games have provided international exposure for many of our track and field stars including the likes of Debbie Ferguson, Obadele Thompson, Darrel Brown, Usain Bolt and Kirani James”.

He said that there are other possibilities of engaging National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and lottery authorities in the region.

Apart from other logistical issues the Grenadian sports minister said that regional governments, national federations, NOCs, and sponsors need to come together urgently and discuss the future of the track and field championships.

“I have been discussing this with the General Secretary of the Grenada Olympic Committee, Veda Bruno-Victor who also shares a similar passion for regional track and field,” Simmons said.

This year’s Junior CARIFTA Games are scheduled for April 22-24.

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