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Games hopes dim

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Games hopes dim

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Turks & Caicos Islands are now out of the race against time to be a host for this year’s CARIFTA Games.
Turks & Caicos was one of the last frontiers for officials of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Track and Field Association, under whose auspices the games are staged, to find a host for the region’s marquee junior meet, which is scheduled for April 22 to 24.
But officials in Providenciales have also joined the list of those turning down the chance to stage the games, placing it in further jeopardy of being cancelled for the first time in its 40-year history.“We were actively pursued by NACAC president Teddy McCook to host the CARIFTA Games 2011,” Rita Gardiner, a spokesperson for the Turks & Caicos Amateur Athletic Association, told a local TV station on Tuesday.
“This was just two weeks ago, and since then, we have held a few meetings to see if it was possible.” She added: “But we have not had a response from the government, and [Tuesday] was the final day to give NACAC a positive response.
“So I reluctantly called and informed them that we did not think it would be possible. Right now, we will not be able to host the CARIFTA Games.”
The staging of the games had been thrown into a state of chaos, when St Kitts withdrew from their commitment to host the event because of financial and logistical reasons. NACAC have been frantically trying to find  a replacement over the last three months, and indications are they may now turn to the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in a desperate bid to save the games.
“We couldn’t hold out anymore,” said Gardiner about the Turks & Caicos’ decision. “It’s two months away from CARIFTA. Whichever country is going to host the games, there must be prepared to do some work.“I do no think that TCI can do it right now seeing our economic state, and the state of the national stadium.”
She said: “We would have needed to put some work into the stadium and the track. I believe all of the stakeholders would have been willing to come together and do it, but I do not think we need that pressure, since it would be too much pressure right now, and there are some other pressing issues.”
Jamaica turned down the request to stage the event because of its proximity to its International Invitational meet, which officials in Kingston stated would have stretched its human and financial resources.Bahamas was also a strong contender, but they also side-stepped the games because of the failure to get a financial guarantee from NACAC.
Trinidad and Tobago was also being considered, but Ephraim Serrette, president of track and field body in the twin-island republic, indicated they would have needed more notice to successfully stage them.Last week, Grenada Minister of Sport Patrick Simmons urged regional governments to grant assistance where possible to ensure the staging of the Games, a key event on the development calendar of the sport in the region. (CMC)