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  • Non-Olympic Sports on the Chopping Block


    (ATR) Panam Sports wants to trim the number of non-Olympic sports for the next edition of the Pan American Games in Santiago in 2023.

    Racquetball could be out of the sports program at the next Pan Am Games (Lima 2019)
    There are nine non-Olympic sports in the program at Lima 2019, although two of them, surfing and karate, will become Olympic sports next year at Tokyo 2020.

    The seven others are Basque pelota, bodybuilding, bowling, racquetball, roller sports, squash and waterskiing.

    The plan right now, confirmed Panam Sports secretary general Ivar Sisniega to Around the Rings, is to have only six non-Olympic sports for 2023.

    “The initial discussion of the executive board was to be selective, make sure those sports that are non-Olympic have to earn their spot in the Games and we have a basic rule which is you have to have at least 20 Olympic committees of our 41 that have a recognized federation, a working federation.”

    Sisniega says while “it’s not set in stone” the organization would also like to have the hosts Chile choose three of the sports “based on what they like, what they’re good at”. Panam Sports would choose the remaining three “based on what are the best fit for the games, for television, for sports in the Americas”.

    The objective is to have the decision on the sports program reached at the Panam Sports meeting around the inaugural Regional SportAccord Pan America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in December.

    That timeline would be almost four years before Santiago 2023 would take place.

    Sisniega says that while the rules require that the sports program be finalized three years before a Pan American Games, it’s important that Chile knows what is expected of them as soon as possible.

    Panam Sports President Neven Ilic’s stated goal of adding more Olympic qualifying events to the sports program could also be a reason for lowering the number of non-Olympic sports.

    Volunteers at the softball venue at Lima 2019 (ATR)
    Keeping the number of athletes competing in the Games at a manageable level is a complicated process and Sisniega says Olympic sports will probably ask for additional athletes in return for using the Pan Ams as a qualifying event.

    Lima 2019 Report Card

    A week ago, Sisniega called on Lima 2019 organizers and volunteers to keep up the hard work through the end of the Games.

    He’s happy to report that has been the case, telling ATR his impression is “still very positive”.

    The volunteers, the sports presentation of the Games and the Pan American Village have all been pleasant surprises for Sisniega.

    The volunteers weren’t trained until just before the Games began but Sisniega praised the job they’re doing and described them as “just really friendly people”.

    He has also been pleased with how the Games look on television and says the way the organizers have dressed their venues has been very good.

    As for the Village, which was constructed very late in the run up to the Games, Sisniega says Lima 2019 has done a great job in creating a “a place where those athletes who have finished, or even those still competing, can kind of let off some steam”.

    “It’s not just competing, it’s getting to know athletes from other countries and having a good time.”

    Written and reported by Gerard Farek in Lima.

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