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  • Cali 2021 Could Have Crowds


    (ATR) The I Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, could be held in front of spectators.

    Baltazar Medina (COC)
    During the most recent visit by representatives of Panam Sports to supervise their preparations, there was a request from the local authorities to the Colombia's Ministry of Health to allow up to 30 percent capacity at the sports venues.

    But the President of the Organizing Committee, Baltazar Medina, clarified to Around the Rings that there are still more than five months to go until the event and the epidemiological situation will determine the conditions for holding the Games.

    "It is too premature to say whether there will be an audience or not," says Medina, who just a few days ago ended a successful 12-year term at the helm of the Colombian Olympic Committee.

    “It all depends on how the pandemic evolves and of course on the authorization of the Ministry of Health for both.

    “So our intention is for there to be an audience, hopefully as many people as possible, but the decision is not up to us.

    “The national health authorities will tell us if we can do it with an audience, or a restricted audience in terms of number, or without an audience.

    Cali will host the Games from Sept. 9-19, 2021. (Panam Sports)
    “There are still more than five months to go, we are very hopeful about the positive effects of the vaccine in terms of reducing the risk of infection.

    "Let's wait for how things evolve from now to the Copa América (football), which is the reference that we are going to have (in terms of health protocols) to define how we are going to be at the Games."

    The historic Copa América will take place between June 13 and July 10 for the first time in two countries: Colombia and Argentina, with the opening match in Buenos Aires and the final at the Metropolitan Stadium in Barranquilla, Colombia.

    The I Junior Pan American Games will be held in Cali and other sub-sites from September 9 to 19 with more than 3,880 athletes in 28 sports and 39 disciplines.

    "Of course, we would like all athletes who come to Cali to be vaccinated, but since we cannot demand the vaccine, the rapid test (PCR) will be required from all of them as a document to enter the country," Medina tells ATR.

    Medina is also president of the Bolivarian Sports Organization (ODEBO) and is taking care of the preparations for the XIX Bolivarian Games in the city of Valledupar, Colombia, from June 24 to July 5, 2022.

    Asked if he is concerned about the recent attacks in the department of Valle del Cauca, whose capital is Cali, he said: “the security system of the Games includes everything that is established within the protocol of the candidacy manual as a requirement of the host country in what which has to do with safety not only for athletes but for all participants. With that we have no problem.

    "I think that sport has always been free from the actions of terrorist groups so that in that aspect we are calm... and vigilant."

    Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez

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