The annual CARIFTA Games are once again the place for certain New York athletes to get their first shot of Outdoor Competition. Over the past few years, we've seen All-Time outdoor performances from athletes like Rai Benjamin (Antigua and Barbuda) and Brenessa Thompson (Guyana), who have carried as State Leaders throughout the season.
In 2016, two of the top athletes from Paul Robeson are set to compete. For Guyana, the State Champion and State Leader in the 55HH Indoors, Alyssa Sandy, will be set to represent for her country. And for Grenada, Amanda Crawford, the 300m State Champ who split 52.7 in the 4x400 State Record Relay this past nationals, the meet has a little extra meaning. The games are held in Grenada in 2016, which would be the first time Crawford has been able to visit the island nation. Hear from Crawford below on the opportunity, among other things, as we talked to her heading into Nationals. And also stay tuned to MileSplit all weekend, as we bring you the updates on their performances.
About the CARIFTA Games
In 1972, Austin Sealy, then president of the Amateur Athletic Association of Barbados, inaugurated the CARIFTA Games to mark the transition from theCaribbean 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 meet.
The meet normally runs over three days during the Easter period and includes over 150 separate events. The Games has two age categories for boys and girls: under-17 and under-20, the latter in line with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) guidelines for junior athletes. The meet is run entirely under IAAF rules.
The Games have produced World Record holders, Usain Bolt, Darrel Brown, World and Olympic Champions such as Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica, Kim Collins of St Kitts-Nevis and Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas, Alleyne Francique of Grenada and Obadele Thompson of Barbados. CARIFTA has spawned administrators like Dean Greenaway, President of the British Virgin Islands Athletics Association.
The CARIFTA Games are normally sponsored by regional companies including the National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago Ltd and Guardian Holdings. In 2009, telecommunications company, LIME Caribbean signed on as a presenting sponsor, providing finance to the local organising committee, direct assistance to national teams and live coverage of the Games on TV across the Caribbean, as well as via Internet streaming.
Games are hosted directly under the auspices of the North and Central
American and Caribbean Confederation of the IAAF, more commonly known as
NACAC. Each country may enter two athletes per event and up to six
athletes may be entered for relay events (with two acting as
substitutes) and three athletes in the combined events such as
pentathlon or heptathlon.
The 100 and 200 metres World and Olympic record holder Usain Bolt holds the 200m metres record in the under 20 category and the 400m in the under 17 category. He previously had both under 17 and under 20 200m and 400m records but lost his 200m under 17 record in 2007 to fellow Jamaican Dexter Lee who would go on to win consecutive 100 m World Junior titles. Bolt lost the 400m under 20 record to World Youth silver medalist and World Junior Champion Kirani James of Grenada Kirani reset the 400m record in Cayman Islands in 2010, at which venue Jamaica's Odane Skeen also established a new under-17 record for the 200m.