The Bahamas will play host to the 47th CARIFTA games, to be held at The Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau from 30 March – 3 April. Some 600 athletes and 100 team officials are expected to descend on the island nation, representing 26 countries and competing in 65 events.
This is the 8th time that The Bahamas has hosted this prestigious event, which started in 1972 as an addition to the formation of CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market). An organisation which promotes economic integration amongst its Caribbean members. One of the key sponsors this year is Commonwealth Bank Bahamas, donating some $30,000 to the event.
CARIFTA was meant to enhance relations between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean after the dissolution of the West Indies Federation, but the CARIFTA Games took that idea a step further, including the French and Dutch Antilles in an annual junior track and field championship competition. These sentiments were echoed by NACAC’s President, Victor Lopez, who stated that “CARIFTA is unique. It’s not just about the running, jumping and throwing. It’s about culture, heritage, friendship and unity of this entire region.”
Many Olympic and world champions from around the region competed in the CARIFTA Games including Usain Bolt of Jamaica, Kim Collins of St Kitts, Ato Bolden of Trinidad and Tobago, Karani James of Grenada, the “Golden Girls” and “Golden Knights” of the Bahamas. Some of the nations best junior athletes are expected to compete in this years event.