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  • Cali 2021 Attentive to the 'Tokyo Model'


    (ATR) The inaugural Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, could be the first on the continent organized under the influence of the “more austerity, more efficiency” model of the “simplified” Tokyo Olympic Games.

    Cali 2021 fireworks to celebrate one year to go earlier this month. (Panam Sports)
    Cali 2021 will be played just weeks after the postponed Olympic event in which the Japanese organizers and the International Olympic Committee have designed more than 50 measures - for now - to maximize cost savings as a result of the one-year postponement of the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Cali 2021 Games, for athletes under 23 years old, are scheduled from September 9 to 19.

    The new Olympic vision includes, also logically, health countermeasures for Covid-19.

    However,  in the Latin American scenario the terms "austerity" and "economic crisis" have historically accompanied generations of athletes. But this unprecedented health and financial emergency in 100 years forces more difficulties for organizers of mega-events.

    Aware of the post-coronavirus reality, the president of Panam Sports, the Chilean Neven Ilic, confirms to Around the Rings his expectations regarding the virtual meetings that the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, will hold on October 1 and 2 with the 105 members of the IOC and the 206 National Olympic Committees.

    "President Bach will update us on those measures, and we will get to know them better," Ilic tells ATR.

    "I think this pandemic is not going to go away and we have to start to know how to live together in the best way, even if we have the vaccine

    “As a sports organization, when you organize an event or a camp, the health of everyone who is there is your responsibility, so we will be very aware of the health guidelines and other measures that derive from it.

    “We will follow all the recommendations of the Colombian Ministry of Health and its authorities for the Cali Games, and we will do the same with the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games in due course.

    "Any analysis will become more powerful after Tokyo," said Ilic  from the Panam Sports office in Miami. Ilic traveled abroad for the first time this week after seven months confined to his home in Santiago de Chile due to the restrictions of the pandemic. 

    Experts believe that the "Tokyo Model" will offer a post-coronavirus format not only for organizing committees of future Olympic Games but for regional Games as well.

    "We are very confident in Cali 2021, it is a new project, a springboard for the new generations," says Ilic, who recalled that the sports program of that event was designed based on the infrastructure that the Colombian city had to save it more expenses.

    Along with the 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games, which will have a new host to replace Panama at the end of November, and the 2022 South American Games in Asunción, Paraguay, the Junior Pan Ams in Cali will also classify their champions for Santiago 2023.


    Ilic also chaired this week, virtually, a meeting with the Panam Sports Executive Committee that analyzed the projection of how to face the post-pandemic context.

    Neven Ilic, Cecilia Pérez and members of Santiago 2023. (Panam Sports)
    "They are ideas, speculations, because although we have the stage prepared we do not know when to act."

    From the Chilean capital, the Minister of Sports and president of the Santiago 2023 Organizing Committee, Cecilia Pérez Jara, participated with an encouraging message about the preparations despite the hard blow of the coronavirus in Chilean society.

    The Games are scheduled from October 20 to November 5.

    “My concern is the infrastructure; the rest is changeable, manageable, adaptable,” comments the head of Panam Sports.

    He said that his attitude is the same as for Lima 2019 - to have confidence that the venues will be ready on time and with quality.

    Ilic said that he is personally supervising the Pan American Village and that he recently stood with Minister Pérez in the middle of the area where the two field hockey fields will be built at the National Stadium.

    The fields should be ready by the end of the second half of 2021. In the remainder of 2020, two other relevant gyms will be started. Works at the National Stadium Sports Park include the improvement of 57 hectares of landscaping, services, sports equipment and bicycle paths.

    "The Chilean government has clear planning with deadlines and dates, which allows us to look at this process with ease," said Ilic.


    Ilic announced that sport climbing was approved as a new discipline to the Santiago 2023 program and will be a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

    Sport climbing along with breakdance, skateboarding and surfing will be the sports proposed by Paris 2024 that will be approved by the IOC. Breakdancing does not appear in the Santiago 2023 program.

    Nor does it figure, until now, bodybuilding, which made its debut in Lima 2019.

    The Panam Sports executive meeting also confirmed squash, Basque pelota, bowling and racquetball in the Santiago 2023 program after reaching collaboration agreements with the respective international federations.

    "It's fantastic, because the stages will remain a legacy to Chilean sports," said Ilic.

    The final approval of the sports program will be made at the General Assembly of Panam Sports in December, tentatively set for Cancun, Mexico, though it still may be carried out virtually.

    "It is in analysis... it will be decided in 30 days," reveals Ilic.

    The General Assembly will also elect a new Executive Committee. As of now Ilic is the only candidate for the presidency.

    Reported by Miguel Hernandez

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