The CARIFTA Games is an annual athletics competition founded by the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). The games was first held in 1972 and consists of track and field events including sprint races, hurdles, middle distance track events, jumping and throwing events, and relays. The Games has two age categories: under-17 and under-20. Only countries associated with CARIFTA may compete in the competition.
In 1972, Austin Sealy, then president of the Amateur Athletic Association of Barbados, inaugurated the CARIFTA Games to mark the transition from the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). CARIFTA was meant to enhance relations between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean after the dissolution of the West Indies Federation, but the CARIFTA Games took that idea a step further, including the French and Dutch Antilles in an annual junior track and field championship meet.
The meet normally runs over three days during the Easter period and includes over 150 separate events. The Games has two age categories for boys and girls: under-17 and under-20, the latter in line with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) guidelines for junior athletes. The meet is run entirely under IAAF rules.
According to IAAF President, Lamine Diack, CARIFTA is "on par with the World Championships." The meet is considered one of the best development meets in world athletics. Having started out on grass tracks, with athletes staying in schools or other similar temporary shelter, the CARIFTA Games have come a long way. College and university coaches and scouts from the United States make their way to the Games each year, in a bid to identify up-and-coming athletes.
The Games have produced World Record holders, Usain Bolt, Darrel Brown, World and Olympic Champions such as Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica, Kim Collins of St Kitts-Nevis and Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas, Alleyne Francique of Grenada and Obadele Thompson of Barbados. CARIFTA has spawned administrators like Dean Greenaway, President of the British Virgin Islands Athletics Association.
In the early years, a handful of territories (Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahamas, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Bermuda) had facilities appropriate for hosting what really is a world-class meet. Since 2000, though, Grenada, Turks & Caicos, St Kitts-Nevis and St Lucia have built brand new stadia and hosted the CARIFTA Games. The Games have also been held on Tobago and in Montego Bay, Jamaica, which became the 14th different venue in 2011.
The CARIFTA Games are normally sponsored by regional companies including the National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago Ltd and Guardian Holdings. In 2009, telecommunications company, LIME Caribbean signed on as a presenting sponsor, providing finance to the local organising committee, direct assistance to national teams and live coverage of the Games on TV across the Caribbean, as well as via Internet streaming.
The Games are hosted directly under the auspices of the North and Central American and Caribbean Confederation of the IAAF, more commonly known as NACAC. Each country may enter two athletes per event and up to six athletes may be entered for relay events (with two acting as substitutes) and three athletes in the combined events such as pentathlon or heptathlon.
The 100 and 200 metres World and Olympic record holder Usain Bolt holds the 200m metres record in the under 20 category and the 400m in the under 17 category. He previously had both under 17 and under 20 200m and 400m records but lost his 200m under 17 record in 2007 to fellow Jamaican Dexter Lee who would go on to win consecutive 100 m World Junior titles. Bolt lost the 400m under 20 record to World Youth silver medalist and World Junior Champion Kirani James of Grenada  Kirani reset the 400m record in Cayman Islands in 2010, at which venue Jamaica's Odane Skeen also established a new under-17 record for the 200m.
|1st||1972 ()||Bridgetown||Barbados||April 1–4||23||JAM|
|2nd||1973 ()||Port of Spain||Trinidad and Tobago||May 4–5||34||JAM|
|3rd||1974 ()||Kingston||Jamaica||April 13–15||Independence Park||34||JAM|
|4th||1975 ()||Hamilton||Bermuda||March 29–31||36||BER|
|5th||1976 ()||Nassau||Bahamas||April 19–20||39||JAM|
|6th||1977 ()||Bridgetown||Barbados||April 25–26||39||JAM|
|7th||1978 ()||Nassau||Bahamas||March 27–28||39||JAM|
|8th||1979 ()||Kingston||Jamaica||April 20–22||Independence Park||42||JAM|
|9th||1980 ()||Hamilton||Bermuda||May 3–4||48||BAH|
|10th||1981 ()||Nassau||Bahamas||April 20–21||Thomas A. Robinson Stadium||48||BAH|
|11th||1982 ()||Kingston||Jamaica||April 10–12||Independence Park||52||JAM|
|12th||1983 ()||Fort-de-France||Martinique||April 2–4||52||BAH|
|13th||1984 ()||Nassau||Bahamas||April 21–23||52||BAH|
|14th||1985 ()||Bridgetown||Barbados||April 7–9||52||JAM|
|15th||1986 ()||Les Abymes||Guadeloupe||March 29–31||52||JAM|
|16th||1987 ()||Port of Spain||Trinidad and Tobago||April 18–20||52||JAM|
|17th||1988 ()||Kingston||Jamaica||April 2–4||Independence Park||52||JAM|
|18th||1989 ()||Bridgetown||Barbados||March 25–27||50||JAM|
|19th||1990 ()||Kingston||Jamaica||April 14–16||Independence Park||52||JAM|
|20th||1991 ()||Port of Spain||Trinidad and Tobago||March 30-April 1||53||JAM|
|21st||1992 ()||Nassau||Bahamas||April 18–20||53||JAM|
|22nd||1993 ()||Fort-de-France||Martinique||April 10–11||55||JAM|
|23rd||1994 ()||Bridgetown||Barbados||April 2–4||58||JAM|
|24th||1995 ()||George Town||Cayman Islands||April 15–17||58||JAM|
|25th||1996 ()||Kingston||Jamaica||April 6–8||Independence Park||58||JAM|
|26th||1997 ()||Bridgetown||Barbados||April 4–6||National Stadium||58||JAM|
|27th||1998 ()||Port of Spain||Trinidad and Tobago||April 11–13||62||JAM|
|28th||1999 ()||Fort-de-France||Martinique||April 3–5||63||JAM|
|29th||2000 ()||St. George's||Grenada||April 22–24||National Stadium||61||JAM|
|30th||2001 ()||Bridgetown||Barbados||April 14–16||62||JAM|
|31st||2002 ()||Nassau||Bahamas||March 30-April 1||Robinson National Stadium||66||JAM|
|32nd||2003 ()||Port of Spain||Trinidad and Tobago||April 19–21||Hasely Crawford National Stadium||66||JAM|
|33rd||2004 ()||Hamilton||Bermuda||April 9–11||National Stadium||66||JAM|
|34th||2005 ()||Bacolet||Trinidad and Tobago||March 26–28||Dwight Yorke Stadium, Tobago||66||JAM|
|35th||2006 ()||Les Abymes||/ Guadeloupe||April 15–17||René Serge Nabajoth Stadium||66||JAM|
|36th||2007 ()||Providenciales||Turks and Caicos Islands||April 7–9||National Stadium, Providenciales||66||JAM|
|37th||2008 ()||Basseterre||Saint Kitts and Nevis||March 22–24||Bird Rock Athletic Stadium||66||JAM|
|38th||2009 ()||Vieux Fort||Saint Lucia||April 10–13||George Odlum National Stadium||66||JAM|
|39th||2010 ()||George Town||Cayman Islands||April 3–5||Truman Bodden Sports Complex||66||JAM|
|40th||2011 ()||Montego Bay||Jamaica||April 23–25||Catherine Hall Sports Complex||66||JAM|
|41st||2012 ()||Hamilton||Bermuda||April 6–9||National Stadium||66||JAM|
|42nd||2013 ()||Nassau||Bahamas||March 29-April 1||Robinson National Stadium||66||JAM|
|43rd||2014 ()||Fort-de-France||/ Martinique||April 18-21||Stade Pierre Aliker|
Medal Totals Since 1990
|2||Trinidad and Tobago||157||197||206||560|
|8||Antigua and Barbuda||28||12||20||60|
|14||British Virgin Islands||7||6||9||22|
|15||/ French Guiana||6||6||10||22|
|16||Turks and Caicos Islands||5||4||6||15|
|17||Saint Kitts and Nevis||4||11||10||25|
|18||U.S. Virgin Islands||3||4||9||17|
|21||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||0||4||0||4|
CARIFTA Games Records
Jamaica has dominated the medals table at CARIFTA over the years. So too the record books. They hold records in 10 of the 21 Under-20 men's events contested all-time at CARIFTA, and hold or share 11 of the 17 Under-20 women's records. At the junior level, Jamaican boys own nine of the 17 records, whilst their girls possess a remarkable 10 of 16 marks in the Under-17 division. The oldest CARIFTA record in the books, though (at least for events still being contested in the modern Games), belongs to a Bermudan, Sonya Smith, whose Under-20 Javelin Throw performance of 53.98m has been on the books since 1979. The oldest boys' record is 15.03m, the winning distance for Lyndon Sands of the Bahamas in the 1980 Under-17 Triple Jump.
Kareem Streete-Thompson went on to become one of the world's leading horizontal jumpers, but his CARIFTA performances have earned legendary status. In 1989, he set an Under-17 Long Jump record with a leap of 7.83m, and a year later his 7.95m was an Under-20 record, in his first year competing at that level for Cayman Islands. Both marks remain untouched. The women's horizontal jump records are almost as long-lived, Jackie Edwards' 1987 mark of 6.14m was the Under-17 winning distance that year, and Daphne Saunders' leap of 6.93m won her the 1989 title. Both ladies are from the Bahamas.
Men Under 20
Women Under 20
Men Under 17
Girls Under 17
Austin Sealy Award Winners
Starting in 1977, the Austin Sealy Award is presented to the athlete adjudged the most outstanding, either in terms of record accomplishment, or quality of performance as compared to other top medallists. The Carifta Games Magazine issued for the 40th edition of the Carifta Games contains the article: "Most Outstanding Athletes over the years: Winners of the Austin Sealy Trophy," by David Miller, published on page 19 in part 2 and on page 24 in part 3. It displays a complete list of award winners. However, there are a couple of inconsistencies: in 2008 Barbados' hurdles sprinter Kierre Beckles won the trophy rather than Trinidadian hurdles sprinter Jehue Gordon, who on the other hand gained the trophy in 2010 rather than Grenadian sprinter Kirani James, the winner of 2009.
Bahamian thrower Lavern Eve is reported to be the award winner in Kingston in 1982 and Martinique in 1983, rather than in 1981. In the year 1981, U17 sprinter Candy Ford from Bermuda, who then won three gold medals (100m, 200m, and 400m), was awarded the so-called "Oscar Steele Challenge Trophy" for being the most outstanding athlete of the games.
* = Under-17
† = Oscar Steele Challenge Trophy
- Mr Austin L. SEALY, olympic.org, retrieved Oct 11, 2011
- History of Carifta, Carifta Games 2011, retrieved Oct 11, 2011
- Jamaica Gleaner News - LIME pumps $20m into Carifta Games - Sport - Thursday | October 22, 2009
- "CARIFTA Games (Under 17 Boys)". GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- "CARIFTA Games (Under 20 Men)". GBR Athletics. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
- "Carifta Games Championship Complete Results". www.cfpitiming.com. 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- Event held 1973-1979
- "CARIFTA Games Day 3 Results". www.world-track.org. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- Terry Finisterre (2011-04-26). "Jamaica tops medal tally as CARIFTA Games conclude". IAAF. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- Kwame Laurence (9 April 2012). "Gold, records for Walcott". www.trinidadexpress.com. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- "4x400 Metres Relay Results". www.carifta2013.info. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "200 Metres Results". www.carifta2013.info. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "Carifta Games Championship Women's Complete Results". www.cfpitiming.com. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- "High Jump Results". www.carifta2013.info. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- Terry Finisterre (2011-04-25). "Four meet records fall in Montego Bay - CARIFTA Games, Day 2". IAAF. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- "Triple Jump Results". www.carifta2013.info. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "Javelin Throw Results". www.carifta2013.info. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "Shot Put Results". www.carifta2013.info. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "CARIFTA Games Day 2 Results". www.world-track.org. 8 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- Terry Finisterre (10 April 2012). "Weather improves to allow records to highlight last day of CARIFTA Games". IAAF. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- "Javelin Throw Results". www.carifta2013.info. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- Finlayson, Alpheus (Apr 20, 2011), Who Will Win The Next Austin Sealy Award?, thebahamasweekly.com, retrieved Oct 11, 2011
- Carifta Games Magazine, Carifta Games 2011, retrieved Oct 12, 2011
- Carifta Games Magazine, Part 2, Carifta Games 2011, retrieved Oct 12, 2011
- Carifta Games Magazine, Part 3, Carifta Games 2011, retrieved Oct 12, 2011
- Foster, Anthony (25 March 2008), Beckles already eyeing Bydgoszcz, as CARIFTA Games close – Day THREE, IAAF, retrieved Oct 12, 2011
- Finisterre, Terry (7 April 2010), Gordon and James steal the show at CARIFTA Games, IAAF, retrieved Oct 12, 2011
- Graham, Raymond (2 April 2002), Ja top Carifta again, Gleaner Company Ltd, retrieved Oct 15, 2011
- Bahamas remain Carifta champions by one medal ... Jamaica retain second place. Jamaica, for the second year in-a-row had to be content with the runner-up spot in the Carifta games..., Kingston Gleaner, Apr 23, 1981, p. 8, retrieved Dec 27, 2013
- Results of all CARIFTA Games in all events (last standing 2006): Under 20 Men, Under 20 Women, Under 17 Boys, Under 17 Girls