Guadeloupe will host the long-awaited Caribbean Games next year.
This was announced, by the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) Executive Committee at a media briefing held at Olympic House on Abercromby Street in Port-of-Spain on Monday.
The executive which included CANOC and T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis, secretary-general Keith Joseph, treasurer Edith Cox (Turks and Caicos) and committee members Alain Soreze of Guadeloupe, Ytannia Wiggins of Barbados and John Abramson US Virgin Islands, met yesterday and decided to reveal the exciting news.
"The meeting centred on several matters that emerge out of our last general assembly which took place in Panama in October last year," said Joseph. "Perhaps, the most important feature to you is the Caribbean Games. The inaugural Caribbean Games which we know was supposed to take in T&T in July 2009 which for health reasons (Influenza A (H1N1)) at the time, was cancelled," said Joseph.
"Guadeloupe has come forward, opting to host the inaugural Carribean Games so that it will take place from the June 30 to July 4, 2021. That event is our marquee event and we certainly hope that this time around, it will come off and all indications that it will. We've done a tremendous amount of work so far."
He added that members have visited Guadeloupe to look at the facilities and met with the organising committee to discuss the necessary arrangements.
"Part of the Caribbean Games mandate is that netball is one of the compulsory sport. Guadeloupe does not play netball but to the spirit of being members of CANOC, they have undertaken a project to introduce netball and to have it on the programme as part of the inaugural Games to that end, we are in collaboration with AFNA (Americas Federation of Netball Associations), the continental body for netball, and as we speak two of the members in Guadeloupe meeting with the organising committee and those interested in starting the project. That is the commitment that AFNA has given to help with the realisation of the Caribbean Games in Guadeloupe in 2021.
"We are not by any means ignoring the mandate of our constitution with regards to the Caribbean Games holding what we see as the core sports - athletics, swimming and of course netball."
Under-23 athletes in the region will feature at the Games which will be held in a four-year cycle.
According to Lewis, who will soon be departing to attend a Caricom secretariat meeting in Guyana to discuss sports and sports services, the committee was encouraged to pursue the dream of hosting Games following positive feedback.
He said, "A survey was done on social media and 73 per cent of the respondent, in particular, the critical age-group, youth/ young people, 73 per cent said that staging the Caribbean Games was important."
In recognition of Guadeloupe hosting the inaugural Games, its representative Soreze made a presentation to Lewis in the form of a pin and a book.
Another item revealed at the briefing was the introduction of the CANOC athletes commission to strengthen the support of athletes and the host its first-ever CANOC awards to recognize the outstanding performances of athletes.
Joseph said, "The athletes are the core of our existence as CANOC has been looking at ways to involve the athletes with the establishment of the CANOC athletes commission. The working group is currently spearheaded by Aliann Pompey of Guyana, who is also chair of the Pan American Sports Organisation athletes' commission. She has been working with Kineke Alexander, who is the president of the NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean) athletes' commission and Brendan Williams of Dominica, who is a member of the Commonwealth Games athletes commission."
Later, Wiggins spoke on the social media aspect of CANOC and on having a presence on all major platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, namely to build the association brands. And on the awards, she said its a chance to "celebrate our own".
Wiggins and several executive members in solidarity with the TTOC project of #10golds24 engaged in the T&T International Marathon (TTIM) on Sunday.