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  • Panam Sports President Confident for Santiago 2023


    Plans for the Pan-American Games in Santiago are still on track for 2023.
    (ATR) Never before in the history of continental sport has a venue for some Pan American and Parapan American Games, in this case Santiago de Chile, organized them in such adverse conditions.

    Latin America faces the worst health crisis in its history and the deepest recession in the economy in the last 90 years due to the pandemic due to the new coronavirus.

    So the hemispheric sports family has their hopes that the Chilean capital will lead the XIX Pan American Games to a safe harbor in the midst of the unprecedented storm and that on October 20, 2023 the continuity of the continental party is being saved.

    In exclusive statements to Around the Rings, the president of Panam Sports, the Chilean Neven Ilic, presented his assessments of the most recent meeting of the continental sports organization, in a "virtual" way, with the Organizing Committee Santiago 2023 chaired by the Minister of Sports. Cecilia Pérez Juara.

    Organizers have had to make budget adjustments in tune with the critical situation, the reductions were redirected to the purchase of medical supplies for the health emergency.

    Minister Pérez has clarified that the budget cuts do not affect sport, physical activity or the works of the Games, because they were resources that had to be allocated to events and workshops that were not carried out due to the pandemic from March to date. .

    Ilic revealed to ATR that June 9, the Executive Committee of Panam Sports will analyze an important agenda to define support for the inclusion of four sports: squash, bowling, pelota Basque and racquetball  to the Santiago 2023 program. The costs of these sports will be borne by the  respective International Federations without an outlay from the Chilean state.

    The future of the first Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, and plans for bidding for the 2027 Pan Am Games are on the agenda this week.

    Ilic himself has been confined for a month with his family in his home as a preventive measure against the outbreak of the deadly pneumonia. Chile has registered to date 127, 387 cases of Covid-19 and 1,541 deaths.

    Around The Rings: Optimistic about Santiago 2023?

    Neven Ilic: We are very grateful for the importance that the Games continue to have for Chile within the problems that are being experienced throughout the world. We have seen very detailed and committed work. In its first stage there is a lot of infrastructure that will be a great legacy for the country. Many of the works are starting this year, the rest in 2021 but they have a duration that allows Panam Sports to be calm. The Villa Panamericana will be a fantastic work. In the aspect of the projects, the majority already approved by the International Federations, they are all directed

    ATR: In the midst of this crisis, how many jobs could the Games generate?

    NI: I don't have the number right now, but one of the most required areas to revitalize employment is construction, and the works of the Games are all large, which assures me that there will be a lot.

    Hopefully in a not very long time this disease will begin to leave us. Indeed, we are going to have difficult times in terms of work in our region and obviously one celebrates that through the Pan-American Games many jobs can be generated.

    ATR: Will outstanding sports finally be included?

    NI: Next Tuesday we will have an Executive Committee in which we will discuss the options for additions to the sports program that in March in Puerto
    Nevin Ilic will lead a meeting of the Pan Am sports executive board June 9. (ATR)
    Rico approved the 28 Olympic sports plus baseball-softball, water skiing, karate, roller sports and surfing. The State of Chile is definitely not in line to invest in four more sports, squash, Basque ball, racquetball, and bowling. Panam Sports is in line to cooperate with the FIs of each one so that hopefully those sports can be and that also an infrastructure remains as a legacy

    ATR: How has Panam Sports suffered with this crisis?

    NI: Especially from the human point of view, because we have seen how our athletes are going through difficult times just like the NOCs. And the function of Panam Sports is to reach out.

    Uncertainty does not allow us to know when we can start this collaborative work, to be able to generate high-level training camps for athletes, to provide them with a battery of alternatives in each discipline so that they return to their physical, mental and competitive condition

    We are prepared but we do not know when the continent opens, and the world, so we will never be willing to put our athletes at risk.

    We have had many videoconferences with them and it is seen how this crisis impacts them physically but especially mentally. None of us still see a clear light at the end of the road while the level of contagion continues to grow in our region.

    ATR: But has the pandemic forced you to freeze other projects?

    NI: We are working to bring the First Junior Pan American Games in Cali forward, which originally were in June 2021. We set a date with the Colombian government for August to definitively confirm whether we will do it or not.

    If we do, we have reached a consensus that it should be in September 2021, so as not to be too close to the Tokyo Olympics

    ATR:  Are you pleased that the Central American and Caribbean Games Panama 2022 change for 2023 the same year as the Pan American Games?

    NI: The first thing we did was get together five sports leaders from the continent to agree to be very flexible because we will live the next few years of difficulties to carry out each of our Games. And if the Games are going to come together we will see how to make them live together. Panam Sports will be able to count on helping to develop in the best possible way the Games in each of the areas of the continent regardless of possible interconnections on dates

    ATR: Do you think that the effects of the pandemic will make cities' interest in the 2027 Pan American Games disappear?

    NI: We are also going to discuss it at the meeting on Tuesday: postpone the nominations for a year. Personally, I believe that 2021 is very soon for the Americas to generate a candidacy process. It is worth postponing a year to allow the economies of the countries more standardized.To date we have had direct conversations, and visited four cities.

    ATR: Will the Panam Sports General Election Assembly be possible in December in Cancun?

    NI: I hope. If we do it it means that the world began to improve. I have not put myself in the position if it could be virtual or not. We are still almost seven months away. I prefer to think that things are going to be better

    ATR: Are you the only candidate for the presidency?

    NI: I don't know.

    ATR: Are you ready to lead continental sport in these conditions of financial and health crisis?

    NI: Nobody imagined nor nobody knows exactly how a post-pandemic world of the magnitude that we are having is facing that, even for the first time in history, has forced the postponement of an Olympic Games

    Yes, I can say that as the Executive Committee of Panam Sports we are fully committed, we know what we can do, what we can help, but we are waiting for when.

    Reported.Miguel Hernandez 

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