The Bahamas will host the CARIFTA Games for the eighth (8th) time on March 30th to April 2nd 2018. The Games will bring together some 500 athletes and 150 team officials from 26 countries, all among the best track and field athletes in the Caribbean.
The CARIFTA Games is an annual athletics competition founded by the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). In 1972, Austin Sealy, then president of the Amateur Athletic Association of Barbados, inaugurated the CARIFTA Games to mark the transition from the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). 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.
The Games was first held in 1972. It is held for three days during the Easter period and consists of 65 track and field events including sprint races, hurdles, middle distance track events, jumping, throwing events, and relays in line with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) guidelines for junior athletes. The Games has two age categories: under-17 and under-20.
Here are some interesting facts about Bahamian CARIFTA Games History:
- The CARIFTA Games logo was designed by BAAA’s President Winston Gus Cooper.
- Many regional CARIFTA athletes have gone on to be Olympic and World Champions including, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, Kim Collins of St Kitts-Nevis, Kierani James of Grenada, Ato Boldon of Trindad and Tobago and Tonique Williams of The Bahamas.
- Bahamas has hosted the CARIFTA Games seven times.
- Six (6) Bahamian women have won the Austin Sealey Award – Mary Ann Higgs, Laverne Eve, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Debbie Ferguson, Anthonique Strachan and Shaunae Miller. Lavern Eve and Anthonique Strachan have won the award twice.
- The Bahamas has won the CARIFTA Games four times – 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984.