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.