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  • Vazquez Rana Seeks PASO Reelection


    (ATR) Mario Vazquez Rana tells Around the Rings he will run for re-election in 2015 as president of PASO, the Pan American Sports Organization.
    Mario Vazquez Rana in Miami. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)

    In an interview in Miami at the close of a meeting of the PASO Executive Committee, Vazquez Rana proclaimed his love and dedication to the association that represents the 41 National Olympic Committees of the hemisphere.

    “I’m feeling much better than I have felt in years. I’m very happy, enthusiastic,” he said.

    “I’m ready to serve.”

    Vazquez Rana, who turned 80 in June, is now serving his eighth term at the helm of PASO. He resigned as an IOC member in March, along with the presidency of two important groups, Olympic Solidarity and ANOC, the Association of National Olympic Committees, rather than fight a battle that was brewing over his leadership of ANOC.

    While it was a bitter episode for Vazquez Rana, he says the separation from his ANOC and Olympic Solidarity duties has been a positive. He says he’s been able to spend more time paying attention to family and to his media empire of newspapers and radio stations in Mexico – as well as his beloved PASO.

    Whether he would seek to continue as PASO president had not been clear until his declaration Wednesday in Miami.

    Two possible candidates have been mentioned for the presidency: St. Lucia IOC member Richard Peterkin, deposed last year as PASO treasurer, and Dr. Joaquin Puello, past president of the NOC of the Dominican Republic and the 2003 Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo.

    Sisniega Remains as PASO Vice President

    The confusing situation involving Ivar Sisniega as PASO first vice president appears to be resolved. While Sisniega had made verbal declarations in the past two months that he was resigning his post, both he and Vazquez Rana confirm he will keep the job.
    PASO first VP Ivar Sisniega. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)

    Sisniega had cited his new responsibilities as a vice president for UIPM, the international federation for modern pentathlon. He also is heading the organizing committee for the next Central American/Caribbean Games set for 2015 in Veracruz, Mexico.

    “We had discussions,” says Sisniega, who was convinced this month by Vazquez Rana to remain with PASO. Vazquez Rana said he told Sisniega that in the Olympic Family, it is possible “to wear two or three hats, as I do”.

    Sisniega is considered one of the young, up-and-coming sports leaders in the Americas, and was seen as a possible successor to Vazquez Rana following his election as PASO first VP.

    NOCs in America Reap Rewards of PASO Largesse

    It may be hard for PASO members to look elsewhere for a new president when they are beneficiaries of the financial strength of the organization.
    The PASO Executive Committee meeting and a symposium for NOCs that follows are organized by the U.S. Olympic Committee. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)

    With $138 million in the bank, income from the IOC (revenue from London 2012) and the Pan Am Games, the 42 NOCs of the region are in line to receive about $280,000 a year in support from the PASO treasury from 2013 to 2016. And while that cash is a fraction of the budget for some of the big NOCs such as the U.S., Canada or Brazil, for smaller ones the funds from PASO represent their financial lifeblood.

    The exact amount of the allocations is due to be approved at a meeting of the PASO EC on Feb. 6 in Kingston, Jamaica.

    Extraordinary General Assembly in February, Toronto in October

    Vazquez Rana says an extraordinary general assembly for PASO will follow the Kingston EC meeting, Feb. 7 and 8. He says the meeting is needed to clear the agenda for the regularly scheduled assembly Oct. 7-9 in Toronto.

    Vazquez Rana says the October assembly will elect a 2019 Pan Am Games host and focus otherwise on preparations for the 2015 Pan Ams in Toronto.

    The three cities bidding for the 2020 Summer Olympics will likely make presentations at the February meeting in Kingston. The cities, Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo, are permitted to begin international campaigning Jan.1.

    Written and reported by Ed Hula

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