Executive members of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), along with members of the 2018 CARIFTA Local Organizing Committee (LOC), officially launched the regional junior meet yesterday, starting the countdown at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
The 2018 CARIFTA Track and Field Championships will be held in the honor of the late Dr. Bernard Nottage, and will take place in New Providence, from March 30 to April 2, at the national stadium. During Nottage’s tenure as BAAA president, he was instrumental in bringing the CARIFTA Games to The Bahamas in 1976 for the first time, and again in 1978 and 1981.
At yesterday’s launch, BAAA President Rosamunde Carey said that she and the association would ensure that this year’s event would be one of, if not the best edition of the CARIFTA Track and Field Championships, to date.
“Two years ago, just before boarding for Grenada, former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson called me and told me he wants the BAAA to bid for the 2018 games,” said Carey. “With former minister Arnold Forbes there on his behalf, we made the pitch, and last year in Curacao, we were officially ratified, making it the eighth time.
“By hosting this we made history once again. The Bahamas has hosted the most CARIFTA Games to date. The North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), like the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), realize that we have what it takes to strategize and organize the most prestigious junior meet not only in the Caribbean, but also in the world. We send a special thank you to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis for his continued commitment to hosting the games. We also want to thank the current Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard for all that he has done and continues to do, and also to Flow, the official title sponsor of the event. We know that Flow and it’s local counterpart BTC is fully committed to the games.”
IAAF Council Member Bahamian Pauline Davis-Thompson, representing NACAC President Victor Lopez, said that NACAC is anticipating a great show, once again, in New Providence.
“On behalf of NACAC, we thank both the government and the people of The Bahamas for hosting the 47th edition of the CARIFTA Games,” Davis said. “The entire NACAC family and IAAF family are looking forward to another exciting event in The Bahamas. The rhythm and soul of the Bahamian people will be on display once again.”
Lopez visited The Bahamas back in November to sign the memorandum of understanding for the games to be held here in The Bahamas, and to officially inspect the facility. Lopez said during the visit that he has he utmost confidence that the BAAA will put on a memorable event in the next few months.
“We are very excited, because every time The Bahamas has hosted CARIFTA, it has been very successful,” he said. “I remember when Keith Parker, a long time ago, used to be in charge of the concession stands and the financial area, and he always told me that we made a profit. I hope this time is as good as it has been in the past.
“With the stadium you have here, I think people had better start buying tickets now, because I think it is going to get so full that they are going to stop letting people in. CARIFTA by itself is unique because it’s not only about athletics, it’s also about culture, heritage and friendship within the region. It is going to be a great week in The Bahamas. It is the eighth time you are hosting, which speaks highly about your organizational skills, and now with the new stadium, I think this will be even bigger than the IAAF World Relays.”
Minister Pintard said that The Bahamas’ Government is working hand-in-hand with the BAAA and the CARIFTA LOC to ensure the country hosts a successful event.
“I invite the entire Bahamian public to support our athletes,” he said. “We believe in a pillar system when it comes to sports at the ministry. The first thing is that we believe we can produce elite athletes who can compete with the best in the world. Sports is important in providing educational opportunities for our young people, it provides employment opportunities, and helps to develop characteristics that build well-rounded young people.”
Over 500 athletes and 400 coaches are expected to travel to The Bahamas for the three-day event. This will be the eighth time that The Bahamas is hosting the CARIFTA Games, the most by any nation in the Caribbean region