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  • Asuncion 2022 Lives Despite the Pandemic


    09/15/20

    (ATR) In mid-June when Latin America became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide, the cases in Paraguay were just over 1,000 and the deceased, a dozen.

    Camilo Pérez López-Moreira (COP)
    It seemed that Paraguay had achieved control of the infections. The government decided to return to "normality", with a mask and social distancing.

    But today Paraguay registers more than 28,300 infections while deaths add up to more than 540.

    The president of the Paraguayan Olympic Committee, Camilo Pérez López-Moreira, acknowledges to Around the Rings that the current epidemiological situation has hampered preparations for the XII South American Games Asunción 2022.

    "It’s a difficult moment," he says.

    The IOC member says he is aware of the "extraordinary circumstances" in the face of the pandemic.

    But he trusts that despite the crisis the authorities will continue to see the Games as an important source of jobs and, above all, a generator of physical and mental health in the post-pandemic context.

    The XII South American Games are scheduled from March 26 to April 9, 2022.

    It is estimated that more than 4,500 athletes from the 15 member countries of ODESUR will come to Paraguay, which will host the most important sporting event in its history.

    "We are being as prudent as possible not to interfere in health efforts, which for us is also a priority objective," said Pérez López-Moreira.

    In this sense, and to a question from ATR, the president of ODESUR, the South American Sports Organization, did not rule out the possibility of moving the date of the Games.

    "Until today there is nothing official yet," he clarifies.

    The Games in Asunción, Paraguay could be delayed. (Wikimedia Commons)
    In the midst of the critical panorama, the Olympic leader says he is open to the necessary alternatives with the firm intention of preserving the mega-event.

    If the reports are confirmed, after dialogue with the Ministry of Sports, the president of the Paraguayan Olympic Committee (COP) believes that a possible new date could be between September and October 2022, always before the Qatar Soccer World Cup.

    Pérez admitted that due to the current situation the Organizing Committee is working with half the required staff.

    "The budget is not enough to hire more people," he reveals.

    "It is a rule to try to spend as little as possible.

    "The authorities redirect many budgets, logically, to health and we are always aware that ours are respected.

    "It is a time of many changes and we are always worried, and busy, trying to continue."

    The Olympic leader affirmed that due to the restrictions of the health emergency "the public function has become very slow, so the bidding for the works has been delayed."

    However, it is expected that in the next few weeks they will be made public.

    The South American Youth Games could also be postponed to later in 2021. (ODESUR)
    He recalled that there are not many pending bids because Asunción will in large part use already existing infrastructure.

    There will be six major construction investments in a 33-sport calendar.

    Velodrome, skate park, BMX cycling track, gymnastics complex, hockey fields and the completion of the sports shooting complex will be the most prominent projects.

    Despite the reduced number of new constructions, the COP holder considered “always to be concerned”.

    "You have to avoid running at the last minute."

    As ODESUR president, Camilo Pérez told ATR it is possible that the South American Youth Games could be moved from April to the end of 2021, in Rosario, Argentina.

    The city is in the province of Santa Fe, one of the three districts with the highest levels of the virus in Argentina, which as a country has been severely hit by the fearsome disease.

    "We are working very closely with Rosario 2021 to see what decisions we make.

    "We are all very concerned about the future of sport, but eager to try to move our events forward.

    "Let's hope that by 2021, in addition to the experiences we get at the Tokyo Olympics, we will already have the vaccine.

    "At ODESUR, without a doubt, we have to change the focus on the organization of events a lot.

    "We must make Games even more independent and flexible but we are going to do them," said the influential South American Olympic leader.

    Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez

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