By Neto Baptiste
Antigua will not be ready to host a Carifta Games in three years from a competitive standpoint.
This is the belief of former national athlete and coach, Carl Casey, who cautioned head of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, not to pursue plans to host the regional meet here, in 2023, as the country runs the risk of putting on a poor showing on the track given the current lull in local activity.
“Those are decisions that you should meet with your body and discuss, because we are not ready to host no Carifta because we have a lull in athletes and when you’re hosting, the host country must give a good showing in terms of your athletes. When you look at what has been happening over the past three years, most of the junior athletes didn’t get a chance to [compete] and they are going to be seniors; so it is going to take a while for the 13, 14 and 15 year olds qualified,” he said.
There has been no national champions nor has there been Schools Athletics Championships due to the absence of the country’s lone track and field facility, the YASCO Sports Complex, which had been undergoing repairs for almost three years.
Instead, Casey believes the association should be focused on assisting those national athletes who are trying to cope during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Myself and Daniel [Bailey] are communicating with a particular female athlete and she is having a hard time getting information or correspondence from the association. Its’ hard for the athletes who train hard and then there is no structure in place, and that is the whole problem. I just think that some people look at athletics as their own whim and fancy and not looking about the athletes and we need to focus on the athletes,” he said.
Cornelius has recently announced plans to bid for the hosting of the 2023 instalment of the Carifta Games following the completion of work at the YASCO Sports Complex.