Dr Blake supports CARIFTA Games in Bermuda next year


Dr Blake supports CARIFTA Games in Bermuda next year

Observer writer

Monday, October 19, 2020

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Outgoing president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake says he supports the idea of the CARIFTA Games going ahead in Bermuda “as long as we can safeguard the health of all who will be involved”.

In a virtual meeting on Saturday, Mike Sands, president of the North and Central American and Caribbean Confederation (NACAC) said the organisers of the three-day championships traditionally held over the Easter weekend and set to be hosted by Bermuda were planning on the event going ahead.

Sands, who took over the presidency of the continental track and field body last year, replacing Victor Lopez who did not seek re-election, told the NACAC Media Round Table they had all plans for the staging of the championships, despite the novel coronavirus pandemic that forced the cancellation of the 2020 event.

Upwards of 20 countries and territories participate in the event each year while Jamaica is one of the few that have always entered the maximum number of athletes and the delegation, including athletes, coaches and other staff, could be over 100 people.

Air travel has been a concern during the pandemic with many countries closing their borders, but the Jamaican team has travelled to the CARIFTA Games via a chartered airlines in recent times.

Dr Blake, who will step down as the president of the JAAA after nine years at the helm, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that by the time the championships are to be held, the situation could be different from what obtains now.

Donald Quarrie, one of the two men so far who have shown an interest in succeeding Dr Blake, told the Observer that it would be a wait-and-see situation for him.

“I would follow the science. My primary goal is always to keep our athletes safe,” he said. “If protocol at that time allows for safe convening of athletes to compete, the first thing I would do is to make sure everything is in place for a safe and successful competition for our team.”

Efforts to contact Garth Gayle, the other candidate for the presidency, were unsuccessful.

Dr Blake, who is a medical practitioner, pointed out that Bermuda had managed the novel coronavirus very well, saying the British Overseas Territory, with a population of just under 65,00, has very few cases right now and that “we could be the ones taking it there”.

Up to Thursday of last week, Bermuda reportedly had only 185 cases. According to the government website, nine persons had died while 172 had recovered with four active cases, none of which required hospitalisation.

Dr Blake said while he expected the rapid antigen testing to be widely available by then, he would think “we should be testing the athletes and officials on the team as close to the event as possible”.

When asked directly whether he would take part, he said, “I would have no problem as long as we take the necessary steps to safeguard the health of not just the athletes but everyone who would be taking part in the event.”

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