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Jamaica to host inaugural Carifta Gymnastics Championships

Published:Tuesday | May 28, 2024 | 12:14 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
Nicole Grant, president, Jamaica Gymnastics Association.
Nicole Grant, president, Jamaica Gymnastics Association.

PRESIDENT OF the Jamaica Gymnastics Association, Nicole Grant, is pleased the country will be hosting the inaugural Carifta Gymnastics Championships set for November 29-30 at the National Indoor Sports Centre.

“We are elated, very happy to be the first country within this region to host the Carifta Gymnastics Championships. Carifta has been around for many years but gymnastics hasn’t been part of it and because of the technicality of the sport, we had worked with the Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) in order to organise this meet,” she stated.

Grant said the decision for Jamaica to host the Carifta Games came on account of the successful staging of last year’s Pan American Hopes tournament.

“Since we hosted the Pan American Hopes tournament last year, we were seen as a country that has the capability of hosting tournaments of this level and therefore we were given the nod. There were three other countries in the running to host the tournament, which included Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Bahamas,” Grant added.

While it’s early days yet, Grant explained that she can already confirm the participation of at least five countries with complements of 20 to 30 athletes.

“At a minimum, each country is expected to bring about 20-30 athletes. We’re not entirely sure about all the participating countries, at this time, but can confirm for Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.”

Jamaica’s team, coached by Mladen Stefanov, will begin their preparation next month.

Overseas training camps

The team is expected to have two overseas training camps, in Canada and China, to fine-tune their work leading up to the tournament.

“The kids will be travelling to China at the end of June until the end of August. This is courtesy of the bilateral agreement between both ministries of sports and is the final leg of China-Jamaica camp. Then, the higher level of gymnasts that we have locally will go to Canada for a four-week camp to also prepare for the tournament.”

According to Grant, the National Indoor Sports Centre will require little to no work to be ready to host a championship of this magnitude.

“As far as we know it has been in good standing from the first time we hosted the Caribbean Gymnastics Championships back in 2016. When we were preparing to host the Pan American Games last year, we didn’t have any major preparation of the venue as we were able to bring the equipment and set up, which was seamless.”