Express Sports Filler

After a series of postponements dating back to March 2020, the Carifta Aquatics Championships have been definitively cancelled.

The situation means TTO age-group swimmers will miss the top regional swimming competition for the second consecutive year.

Communication of the decision came via a May 1 correspondence from the Barbados Aquatics Sports Association (BASA) president Cheryl Forde to the 28 national aquatic federation members and associate members of the region.

The event was initially postponed to a period later in the year by the former BASA president Tony Selby with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. Last November, Selby relayed the second postponement. And on January 28, the new BASA president Forde disseminated the third postponement of the Carifta Aquatics, scheduled to come off from March 26-April 3, due to a resurgence and spike in positive Covid-19 cases in that country.

On Saturday, Forde wrote: “After careful consideration and consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Covid-19 Monitoring Unit, the Barbados Aquatic Sports Association is unable at this time to give any indication as to when Barbados will be allowed to host sporting competitions.”

Forde stated that the Aquatic Center, the official venue for the swimming competition, had also been closed for the last three weeks “due to the heavy ash fall from the La Soufière volcano (in St Vincent and the Grenadines) and will now reopen on May 3”.

“It has been a very difficult time for all sporting federations,” Forde stated. “In addition, there continues to be spikes in the Covid-19 pandemic in many of our neighbouring states and this has added concern for the Ministry of Health in relation to Carifta being a regional tournament.”

Forde added that the rescheduling of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams had created an added challenge of determining and identifying a suitable date to host the competition.

“It is with utmost regret that (the) Council has agreed that under these persistent circumstances we can no longer hold the Federations in a state of uncertainty. We are therefore informing the Secretariat that Barbados is unable to host Carifta 2021,” stated Forde.

Forde noted that BASA is anxious to hold to its commitment by having the agreement to host Carifta extended to 2022.

“We are confident that with the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine programmes in our respective states, conditions will improve. We thank you for your support during this difficult time. Barbados will continue to work with our Carifta member Federations to ensure that our athletes have an opportunity to come together in 2022 and compete in a safe and enjoyable environment.”

Forde said she understood the disappointment and setbacks this decision will cause to the athletes and all those who work to make Carifta “an exciting and rewarding experience”.

“We are operating in very strange times and unfortunately the decision is based on factors outside the control of our Association. We hope that 2022 will be a brighter and more stable year for everyone. I am hereby conveying our best wishes to all Federations as you continue to work with your athletes. I thank you for your patience and your understanding. I will continue to update you on developments in Barbados regarding events that may be sanctioned later in the year.”

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