(ATR) The inaugural South American Master Games in Santiago, Chile has been postponed for the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Santiago, Chile is hosting Master Games and 2023 Pan Am Games.
The mega-event had already been rescheduled to March 10-21, 2021.
The president of the South American Sports Organization (ODESUR), Camilo Pérez López-Moreira, reported that the decision was adopted after analyzing a report from the Chilean Olympic Committee (COCH) and the Ministry of Sports of that country on the situation of the pandemic and its projection for the next few months.
López-Moreira added that on December 3, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced that the state of catastrophe in the face of the health crisis will last until the end of March 2021.
The new timeframe established by ODESUR will be either the last quarter of 2021 or the beginning of 2022, according to the international sports calendar.
The exact date will be announced in the middle of the year.
“We saw the frustration of the athletes who could not train normally due to the sanitary restrictions imposed by different countries. We could not be oblivious to that reality and the projections were not encouraging at all and that is how we made ODESUR see it," declared the president of the COCH, Miguel Ángel Mujica.
“For us the priority was to have an event that mainly guaranteed the safety of the competitors. The news of the extension of the state of exception in Chile until the end of March due to the health emergency, made it unfeasible to carry out this event within the established deadlines,” he added.
The Minister of Sports of Chile, Cecilia Pérez, reiterated the government's commitment to holding the Games. "We must do it when sanitary conditions allow it," she said.
The organizers reported that those registered will keep their place and those who decline will have their initial payments returned.
The sports and tourism authorities of Chile had considered the possible participation of several thousand athletes, from the age of 35, from 15 countries of the region in 11 disciplines.
The Games were originally scheduled for April 2020 but were postponed by COVID-19.
At the same time, Santiago, Chile has continued with optimism, despite the health and economic crisis, the preparations for the Pan American Games in 2023. Its recent report to the virtual General Assembly of Panam Sports received a boost from the 41 NOCs of the continent.
In the last 24 hours, Chile reported 2,450 new cases of COVID-19, without deaths. Since the appearance of the new coronavirus in the country, last March, Chile has registered more than 620,600 infections (about 587,000 recovered) and has suffered more than 16,700 deaths.
Chile has announced a tightening of the measures to enter its territory after the detection of a second case of the British variant of the COVID-19 strain.
The South American nation is one of the first to start vaccinations in Latin America, a region where the immunization process is slow.
Athletes are waiting for vaccines while the uncertainty about the Olympic Games in Tokyo does not disappear as 2021 begins.
Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez
For general comments or questions, click here.
Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.