The first edition of the Junior Pan American Games, in Cali (Colombia) from November 25, will be held with up to 75% capacity in the stadiums, with all participants over 18 years vaccinated and under a bubble format “in the one in which the athlete will have more restrictions than any Colombian citizen, “Chilean Neven Ilic, president of Panam Sports, explained to Efe on Wednesday.
“In some cases we will follow the Colombian regulations that accept capacity of up to 75%, in other cases we will stay at 50%. The vaccine is required to enter the stadium,” he said about the anti-pandemic measures that will be in force during the Games.
“All accredited 18 years or older must have their two vaccinations,” he continued. “Those who are not vaccinated cannot be accredited and there are no exceptions of any kind,” Ilic said about the first multidisciplinary competition in America for athletes from 18 to 21 years old.
The head of the Pan-American sport, also a member of the IOC, clarified that athletes “should stay in their hotels, without going out to the city for dinners, parties or supermarkets.”
“We have a percentage of athletes under 18 years of age who cannot be vaccinated by law,” he recalled, “and whom we are going to take special care of. If an athlete gets sick it is a serious problem. The athlete will have more restrictions than any other. Colombian citizen. And we are going to be strict. “
“In some cases we will follow the Colombian regulation that accepts capacity of up to 75%, in other cases we will stay at 50%. The vaccine is required to enter the stadium,” said Chilean Neven Ilic, president of Panam Sports
Following the model that was used during the past Tokyo Olympics, “the athlete will arrive two days before their competition and will leave the day after finishing their sport”, to reduce contacts as much as possible.
With only 43 days to go before the opening of the Games – “my heart clenched to think about it,” said Ilic -, the leader is convinced that the competition will not be altered by outbreaks of social instability such as the one that particularly affected Cali last May.
“I am convinced that sport is quite transversal, that respect for Colombian athletes unites and I hope so. Stadiums must be full of people to transform this into a union party in Colombia, Cali and elsewhere. the Valle del Cauca, “he pointed out.
The Junior Pan American Games, an initiative of Ilic himself, will allow the attention and resources to be paid to a generation that usually does not deserve them, the president considered.
“Budgets are finite and are spent on the adult generations that are representing the countries. Few have an economic reserve for the new generations. With a large event, governments will have special attention,” he said.
“The attendance we are having is historic. All the countries will have larger delegations than we expected. The organization is going well, details are lacking, but the Games are better in the details,” added Ilic.
An educational program against abuse
The Games will have an educational program to prevent harassment and abuse in sport, taking into account the need to protect the youngest athletes.
“We have to teach them how these things begin to happen, so that they know how to identify them. We are going to take a team to Cali to meet with different groups,” said the leader, who highlighted the obligation to impose “zero, zero, zero tolerance” with abuse in sport.
“How do you combat this problem? With education and making sure that people have a safe way of expressing what is happening, without fear of ceasing to belong to the team, of losing benefits that support the family. Although I believe that youth it has evolved and dares to say more things, “he said.
Ilic, president of Panam Sports since 2017, referred to the controversial figure of the father coach or manager.
“Experience says that parents are the worst coaches. The relationship is very complicated. There are many athletes who leave because of the pressure they have from their families,” he observed.
“It really is an issue that is very shameful. We will look for a way to be part of the solution, because the issue is serious and unforgivable,” he said.
When a white elephant appears, it is because someone thought of
With the Pan American Games of absolute category Santiago 2023 only two years away, Ilic admitted that “the pandemic has affected everyone in all areas” but the organization, “in terms of infrastructure, did quite well.”
“The Pan American Village has started its construction this week and that is great news. There is no time to spare,” he said. “And in the budgetary aspect, the nation’s budget is about to be approved and there is an increase for sport that has to do with the Pan American Games,” which will be held in Santiago, Chile from October 20 to November 5, 2023.
If the organizing cities “understand what the proposal is,” he affirmed, the problem of the facilities that are later in disuse, the so-called “white elephants”, must disappear.
“Nobody asks cities for anything out of the ordinary. When white elephants start to appear it is because someone came up with making a white elephant. To avoid it, you just have to sit down and see what is the minimum to organize the Games,” said Ilic . EFE