Minister of Youth, Families and Sports Glenn A. Blakeney held a Press Conference this morning, and with no printing press reporters on hand he delivered the following statement.
There is considerable excitement in the air as final preparations are underway for what must be regarded as the signature track and field sporting event of the year - the LIME Carifta Games - which will be staged at Bermuda’s National Sports Centre from April 6-9th, 2012.
As Minister responsible for Sports, I am extremely pleased that Bermuda will be hosting the 41st LIME Carifta Games. I take this opportunity to remind everyone that it was right here in Bermuda where Usain Bolt of Jamaica broke the World Junior 200m record in 2004. This will be the fourth time that the Carifta Games will be held in Bermuda. The previous Games were held here in 1975, 1980 and of course 2004.
I particularly want to highlight the tremendous planning and hard work that has been undertaken by Bermuda Track and Field Association, under the leadership and direction of its most able President Ms. Donna Watson, who is with us here today. Ms. Watson will make her remarks in a few moments.
It gives me great pleasure to know that we will have over 550 junior athletes from 26 Caribbean countries competing at this year’s Carifta Games. I believe this large commitment by many athletes to come to Bermuda to compete reflects many wonderful things. First, there is the interest in the Games itself, since many junior athletes use the Carifta Games as a springboard to greater success in their chosen sport at major international competitions, up to and including the Olympics, which, as we all know, takes place in London this summer.
Second, it reinforces the reputation that Bermuda has earned as a premier destination for hosting major sporting events, including the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, world class sailing events, and international boxing matches. Third, the hosting of the Carifta Games provides an opportunity for us to showcase our National Sports Centre. I don’t know whether this level of participation is a record for Carifta Games, but it is certainly very impressive, and I am very proud that the Government of Bermuda has been able to provide support to the BTFA to make the Games happen.
Now, without stealing Donna’s thunder, I will also say how very pleased and excited I am that over 50 Bermudian athletes have been selected to represent their country at this year’s Carifta Games. Donna will give more details in a moment. However, it is important for me to acknowledge ALL our fine young athletes, not just those who have been selected, who worked exceedingly hard to compete to be in the Games. They all trained very hard, prepared well, and competed at several track and field trials held during recent weeks in the run up to the Carifta Games. I am so proud of all of them!
You will note that we have Superintendent Martin Weekes here with us today, and in a few minutes he will inform you about traffic control and parking provisions for the Carifta Games.
It is important for me to mention that we will have numerous international media here in Bermuda to cover the Games. So in reality, Bermuda will be performing for the world. Our reputation for hospitality has preceded us, and now it is time for us to deliver. So be sure to get your tickets for the Games, if there are any left, and come out and support what we hope will be a spectacular sports event.