Carifta Swimming Championships postponed as Barbados goes into lockdownTuesday, February 02, 2021
By Dwayne Richards
The Carifta Swimming Championships which were originally scheduled to be staged at the end of March and early April in Barbados have been indefinitely postponed after the prime minister of that country announced a national lockdown last Tuesday night.
The announcement came by way of a press release from the president of the Barbados Amateur Swimming Association (BASA), Lady Cheryl Forde .
“It is with greatest regret that I must inform you that Carifta 2021 will not take place in Barbados, as scheduled for March 26th -April 7th. An executive decision was taken this evening by the BASA to postpone Carifta 2021 after a review of the current COVID-19 situation in Barbados and, by extension, in the region.”
A new date for the staging of the event will be decided on after the “national pause” in Barbados ends and an assessment of the situation can be done.
“It was agreed that a new date would be decided after the 'national pause' lockdown that is expected to end on February 17th and after we have had an opportunity to meet with the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit.”
With Caribbean countries struggling to access a vaccine, the decision to postpone the event became necessary, Lady Forde said.
“In the absence of a vaccine, with the new variant present in Barbados, community spread locally, the general spiking of COVID-19 cases in neighbouring countries and changing travel protocols locally and in a number of our neighbouring countries, it was agreed that it would be prudent to postpone this regional competition at this time.”
Even while expressing regret at the inconvenience caused by the postponement, Lady Forde promised an update of the situation by the end of next month.
“We regret the inconvenience this will cause, but we believe we have given consideration to the importance of keeping everyone safe in this very difficult environment. In addition, protocols outlined in the summons would no longer apply. We assure you that we will move swiftly to have them reviewed as soon as possible, and will have updated information for you by the end of February, if not sooner.”
Meanwhile, in Jamaica, the president of Aquatics Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) Marin Lyn has expressed both his understanding and his disappointment at the postponement of the games.
“The ASAJ is indeed disappointed with the news that Carifta in Barbados is being postponed, but obviously we understand because the safety of our athletes is paramount in the ASAJ's purview.”
Lyn said that the swimmers will remain in training so as to be prepared for when the new date is announced.
“However, our athletes are still training, and we do have athletes who would have participated in the Carifta Games and, therefore, we look forward to when the games will be held.
“They also introduced a new category of Over-18, which puts some of our elite athletes in the mix as well, so it will be a good game to go to once a new date has been identified. In the meantime, we continue to strive, we continue to work hard, and look forward to regional competition as soon as possible.”
Rory Alvaranga, head coach at Kazan Swim Club, was not surprised at the news coming out of Barbados.
“The news was no surprise to me. It was just a matter of time, as sad as it may be. With the new variant found in Barbados, and they are now being in community spread phase, the decision to postpone was the best one.
“It is in the best interest of public safety, the athletes, the officials and the supporters. I think it was a good call. We now just have to remain focused on our domestic programme to keep swimmers engaged and in the pool, as some are getting demotivated due to no competition from March, which is almost a year now,” he said.
Jamaica has always been a dominant force at the regional swimming championships.
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