The 2021 CARIFTA (Caribbean Free Trade Association) Aquatics Championships have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a new date expected to be set in mid-February.
Originally, the meet was set to occur from March 26-April 7 in Barbados, featuring multiple aquatic disciplines, including swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, and open water swimming events.
The championships are one of the largest events for athletes across the Caribbean, and this year’s edition was set to be a FINA approved qualification competition for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. For many of the athletes, the games were set to provide a rare opportunity to compete in a long course pool. During the 2019 edition of the games, the Bahamas came out on top, making it the third-straight year they won the swimming competition.
The 2020 edition of the games were postponed last April, following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally, they were set to occur in Barbados, which was later awarded the opportunity to host the 2021 edition of the games. The Caribbean Free Trade Association has not announced whether Barbados will be awarded the 2022 edition of the games due to the second cancellation. Currently, St. Lucia is set to hold the 2022 edition of the meet.
The Caribbean Free Trade Association also announced the postponement of the 2021 CARIFTA Track and Field competition, which will now occur from July 2-4, 2021 in Bermuda.
Update: In a statement, the President of the Barbados Amateur Swimming Association Cheryl Lady Forde said, “It is with the greatest regret that I must inform you that the Carifta Swimming Championships 2021 will not take place in Barbados as scheduled for March 26th -April 7th.”
“An Executive decision was taken by the BASA to postpone Carifta 2021 after a review of the current COVID-19 situation in Barbados and by extension, in the region.”
“It was agreed that a new date would be decided after the “national pause”- lockdown that is expected to end on February 17th, and after we have had an opportunity to meet with the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit.”
“In the absence of a vaccine, with the new variant present in Barbados, a community spread locally, the general spiking of COVID-19 cases in neighboring countries and changing travel protocols locally and in a number of our neighboring countries, it was agreed that it would be prudent to postpone this regional competition at this time.
“We regret the inconvenience this will cause but we believe we have given consideration to the importance of keeping everyone safe in this very difficult environment. In addition, protocols outlined in the Summons would no longer apply. We assure you that we will move swiftly to have them reviewed as soon as possible and will have updated information for you by the end of February, if not sooner.”
“Thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to working together to make the Carifta Swimming Championships 2021 a reality.”