This year's CARIFTA Games are set to be postponed until 2021 ©CARIFTA

This year's Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Games in Bermuda are set to be postponed until 2021 after the North American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) confirmed the event would not be held this year.

NACAC President Mike Sands confirmed the decision to cancel the Games, which had been scheduled for April 10 to 13 in Hamilton, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sands said the NACAC Executive had given him authority to hold talks with local stakeholders, including the Bermuda Government and National Olympic Committee, "to ascertain their thinking in respect of the postponement of the Games to Easter of 2021".

Bermuda Sports Minister Lovitta Foggo has already declared her support for delaying the Games to next year.

"In 2021 we will be ready and prepared to host a spectacular CARIFTA Games, and we very much look forward to joining the Bermuda National Athletics Association and the rest of the island in celebrating our talented young athletes," Foggo said.

The NACAC detailed the reasons behind the decision to cancel in a letter to members ©NACAC
The NACAC detailed the reasons behind the decision to cancel in a letter to members ©NACAC

Guyana, set to host the 50th anniversary edition of the Games in 2021, will be asked to instead stage the event in 2022.

"Discussions have begun with all stakeholders in Guyana, craving their understanding and support, given that Bermuda did nothing to lose the annual event and is therefore deserving of being given the opportunity to make good on its commitment, albeit one year later," Sands said.

Organisers had initially hoped to reschedule the CARIFTA Games for later this year, but the NACAC Executive decided that would not be possible owing to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

According to latest figures, the virus has infected more than two million people and killed over 127,000 worldwide.

Bermuda has only reported 57 cases, but the pandemic has forced numerous countries to impose travel restrictions and lockdowns in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

The CARIFTA Games, designed to enhance relations between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, regularly attract a star-studded field.