Carifta looms large for young Caribbean stars

The stage is set for what promises to be a successful 36th Carifta Games on the small island of Providenciales, a member of the Turks and Caicos chain of islands in the north Caribbean. The 36th Carifta Games is scheduled for 7th–9th April. On 5th April, athletes from 26 countries will descend on Providenciales for two-days of preparation and three-days of exciting competition. The Games will be held in the Turks and Caicos for the very first time. The Amateur Athletics Association and the Local Organising Committee and have been busy promoting the event among the Turks and Caicos Islanders at home and in the Diaspora. No stone is being left unturned in the effort to guarantee the success of the 36th Carifta Games.
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The Carifta Games began in 1972 following a series of meetings between some of the top athletics officials in the Caribbean. Originally the planners wanted to have the first edition of the Games conducted in Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately the Twin Island Republic was unable to play host at the time and Barbados’ Austin Sealey, then President of the Barbados Amateur Athletics Association, agreed to host the inaugural Games.
It must be stated here that at the time of conceptualising and later realising the first edition of the Carifta Games, none of the founding fathers ever thought that the event would prove to be the biggest sporting spectacle for the region’s young people on an annual basis.
Even as the history of the Carifta Games is being prepared for the 36th edition in Providenciales, the full impact of the annual event on the Caribbean is yet to be understood and sufficiently appreciated.
Governments of the region have not yet begun to understand what the Games have come to mean to our children and their future. They have failed to grasp the significance of the statement by the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF, Lamine Diack, that the Annual Carifta Games is the best and most exciting Junior Championships in the entire world.