Cudjoe, Commisiong: Carifta 2025 part of development plan for TT … – TT Newsday

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s hosting of the Carifta Games in 2025 complements its recent partnership with Jamaica to springboard sports development, particularly athletics, between the two nations.
This is the view shared by Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe and National Administration of Athletics Administrations (NAAATT) president George Comissiong.
The pair believes TT’s successful bid to host the regional meet falls in line with their long-term plans to help bolster the nation’s talent pool.
The recent collaboration with Jamaica will see both nations looking into different aspects of each other’s athletics model to see what they can emulate to generate increased success in both track and field events.
When the decision to host the Games in 2025 was confirmed at the annual Carifta Congress in the Bahamas on Sunday, it aligned perfectly with Cudjoe’s plans and those of the NAAATT boss.
The last time TT hosted the Carifta Games was in 2005 at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.
On the heels of TT’s 22 medal haul at the just concluded Carifta Games and Cudjoe’s announcement on Wednesday that her ministry is in the process of forming a track and field club and sporting programmes for rural communities, the 2025 Games seems an ideal fit.
Through this initiative, scheduled to begin in July, Cudjoe is hoping to find new talent and possibly hone in on those who have the skill but face socio-economic challenges.
With TT gearing up to host 72 nations at the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) from August 4-11, several sporting facilities are currently under repair to welcome the world’s future stars.
One of these facilities is the local track and field mecca, the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, which Cudjoe confirmed would be completely refurbished by 2025 to host the Caribbean’s young athletes.
On hosting Carifta, Cudjoe said, “I think it’s important for promoting school sport for our youngsters to see other athletes excelling in sport. You’re going to see a little bit of that this July/August as we host the CYG. But for us as a Caribbean people, there is so much talent, belly, gut and grit in these young athletes, and I think the Carifta Games creates that platform.
“With the newly refurbished Hasely Crawford Stadium, by that time, it will be completed. It’s the best place for a Caribbean school sports to take centre stage and I look forward to that. Hopefully, by then we would have seen some fruits ripened from our collaboration with Jamaica.”
She reminded sports enthusiasts that Jamaica took 110 years to become a world athletics powerhouse.
“It’s going to take us some time and we are not starting empty-handed or without talent or resources. I think we have committed people within the sport fraternity and athletes who have a healthy appetite to go out there and do well.
“It’s about getting the structures and systems properly in place…the right volunteers in place because we can’t pay everybody and getting the private sector involved. I’ve seen the magic of private sector investment for Jamaica people and for others in the region,” she added.
Meanwhile, Comissiong sees the Jamaica partnership, TT’s hosting of the CYG and Carifta Games in two years, as welcomed motivation to inspire the younger generation of athletes.
“Our hosting of Carifta 2025 is aligned with the recent government initiative to develop athletics in TT. The Ministry of Sport has had two study tours to Jamaica, which is in keeping with the governmental thrust to develop sport in general, starting with athletics.
“We’ve had two good Carifta performances in 2022 and 2023. As a further incentive to the athletes, we decided it would be beneficial to have it in front of a local audience. The CYG is another driver and motivator towards our hosting it,” he said.
Commisiong added that the NAAA plans to keep the majority of its Carifta team together, once age-eligible, ahead of the CYG to help guide their transition and development over the next three months.
More athletes, however, would be added to the TT contingent.
“There may be other athletes selected as we get closer and have the National Junior Champs (July 1) and so on. There will be athletes who show, later on in the year, then compare the Carifta trials. But we have a shortlist of athletes that we can work with over the next few months,” he said.
Commisiong was also happy for islands south of the Caribbean chain, who he said, must fork out large sums to travel north for regional and international competition.
“It’s normally cheaper to come south of the Caribbean than to go north. The federations in and around the southern Caribbean have always had the additional expense and challenges with visas and so on over the years.
“For this year’s Carifta Games, Bahamas arranged charter flights for countries to get away from having to go to Miami to get visas and so on. We were very appreciative of that. I am optimistic. So far, we’ve been having a good year and I look forward to the upcoming weeks.”

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