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  • Tuesday Talk -- Guadalajara 2011 Chiefs on Pan Am Construction Progress, Safety Concerns


    COPAG sports director Ivar Sisniega says his organizing committee is as ready as most of its Pan Am predecessors. (Guadalajara 2011)
    The Tuesday Talk Is Presented by
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    (ATR) Pan Am organizers tell Around the Rings Guadalajara will be ready for the Games now just six months away.

    Come October, some 6,000 athletes from 42 countries will compete across 36 sports in what will be the biggest multi-discipline event of the year.

    The organizing committee has its work cut out in the meantime.

    This week alone, COPAG welcomes representatives from the 42 participating national Olympic committees for a three-day gathering of chefs de mission, then celebrates the six-months-to-go mark on Thursday.

    In this edition of Tuesday Talk, Guadalajara sports director Ivar Sisniega and marketing director Horacio de la Vega update ATR on Pan Am progress at this critical Games milestone.

    Around the Rings: How ready is Guadalajara 2011 at the six-months-to-go mark?

    Ivar Sisniega: We are as ready as most of the organizing committees before us.
    Guadalajara's velodrome is ready for the 2011 Pan Ams. (ATR)

    Despite some of the controversies with our preparations, we are ahead of schedule with the Pan American Village and working well with the construction of the main venues such as the Telcel Athletics Stadium, the rowing and canoeing venue in Ciudad Guzman, the Pan American Roller Skating Track and the Scotiabank Aquatics Center.

    Our main focus at this stage is on the operational aspects of the Games as we continue to work with individual NOCs addressing their concerns. We have named all our technical directors for each of the sports as well as the venue managers.

    ATR: You told me back in October that Games construction was weeks ahead of schedule. Is that still the case?

    IS: In some cases we are ahead of the construction schedule, mainly with the Pan American Village, the Scotiabank Aquatics Center and the site for wrestling, judo and taekwondo.

    ATR: Which venues have the most work left to be done?

    IS: The Telcel Athletics Stadium, the beach volleyball arena and the rowing and canoeing venue. In the case of beach volleyball, rowing and canoeing and BMX, a large part of the overlay will be temporary.
    Construction progress on the Pan American Village at October's one-year-to-go mark.(COPAG)

    ATR: When will the main stadium and Pan Am Village be ready?

    IS: The Telmex Athletics Stadium is scheduled to finish construction at the end of July. We will start receiving sections of the Pan American Village at the end of May, and the final delivery will be in mid-August.

    ATR: Will all the venues be finished in time to stage test events before the Games begin?

    IS: We will test all venues from an operations standpoint, although not all disciplines will have a test event.

    In the case of beach volleyball, we will have a NORCECA Tournament at the end of September and leave the venue standing for the Games.

    ATR: Has Guadalajara passed the $50 million mark in revenue set by Rio 2007 yet? If so, when?
    Guadalajara chief organizer Carlos Andrade made the rounds at last year's ANOC assembly in Acapulco alongside one of the Pan Am mascots. (ATR)

    Horacio de la Vega: We are actually above the $50 million mark regarding TV rights and sponsors. We are aiming to have around $70 million, adding up the different business units we have such as ticketing, merchandising, stores, rate cards and others.

    ATR: When do tickets go on sale, and how many are you expecting to sell?

    HdlV: Tickets go on sale on May 13, and we are expecting to sell around one million tickets.

    ATR: Any big sponsorship announcements since we last spoke?

    HdlV: We have signed around 12 different companies across the first, second and third sponsorship tiers.

    Among the most important ones since last October we could mention are Telmex, Telcel and Nissan as top tier sponsors as well as Technogym, official store Marti and many other third-tier sponsors regarding food, equipment, security and logistics.

    ATR: What's being done to keep athletes, officials, volunteers and spectators safe during the Games?

    IS: As with any Games of this nature, there’s an extensive security coordination headed by the State of Jalisco Secretary of Security and with the assistance of the Mexican Army, Mexican Navy, Federal Police and Municipal Police Districts. They have met continuously with security experts from some of the different embassies as well as with international security organizations and will be ready for the Games.
    Guadalajara is Mexico's second-largest city. (ATR)

    ATR: Do you anticipate the crime problem in Guadalajara keeping many international visitors from coming to the Games?

    IS: No, Jalisco and specifically Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta continue to receive thousands of visitors every week because the crime levels in our state are well below many major cities in the U.S. and across the American continent. The perception in Guadalajara among the general population is one of tranquility, and people continue to carry on with their lives normally without any additional precautions.

    ATR: What is Guadalajara doing marketing-wise to raise awareness of the Games in these last six months?

    HdlV: Both the State and the Government are beginning a large-scale campaign and have begun to dress up the buildings and to place signage all over making reference to the Games. Two major TV networks, Televisa and TV Azteca, have signed on to the Games, including references to the Games in their daily programming.

    ATR: Are you involved at all with the Monterrey 2018 YOG bid?

    IS: No.

    ATR: Anything else I should be aware of at the six-months-to-go mark to the Games?
    PASO president Mario Vazquez Rana and Jalisco governor Emilio Gonzalez unveiled these medals for October's Pan Ams. (Guadalajara 2011)

    IS: We recently hosted the PASO Executive Committee meeting and received high marks from its president Mario Vazquez Raña and the other members of the Executive Committee with regard to the quality of the venues and our preparation for the Games. This was encouraging and motivates COPAG to continue to work hard to ensure that the athletes, coaches, delegates and spectators that come to Guadalajara have the best conditions to take part in and enjoy the Games and also Guadalajara.

    Interview conducted by Matthew Grayson.

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