Inaugural Junior Pan American Games postponed until November
The inaugural Junior Pan American Games, in Colombia, have been postponed until November owing to continued uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers have confirmed.
After several meetings and consultations with health experts, organisers have opted to push back the Games – originally set to take place in the city of Cali, south-west of Bogotá, from September 9 to 19 – to now be scheduled to run from November 25 to December 5.
The decision was agreed upon between Panam Sports, the Government of Colombia, the Colombian Olympic Committee, the Valle del Cauca Government, the Cali Mayor’s Office and the Local Organising Committee, with the objective of ensuring a safer Games by allowing more time for the host country and participating nations to further advance in their processes of vaccination against Covid-19.
“America is one of the continents that has been most affected by Covid-19, and although important vaccination processes have begun in most countries, the pandemic is still a threat and a lot of work remains to be done,” said Neven Ilic, the Panam Sports president.
“After several months of meetings with the Colombian authorities, we have adopted this measure that we believe is the best option to protect the health of our young athletes.
“We want to give more time for both the organising country and the participating nations to advance in their vaccination processes. This will allow more delegations and the largest number of people to be inoculated against Covid-19 when the Games begin.”
The event is expected to feature more than 3800 athletes from 41 countries – including Bermuda – who will compete in 39 disciplines.
With such a large number of competing athletes expected to converge on the city, Jose Luis Echeverry, Cali-Valle 2021 Executive Director, has welcomed the decision to delay the event by almost three months.
“The decision we have made is very positive,” he said. “It will be very beneficial to be able to wait a little longer given the emergency caused by Covid-19 not only in Colombia, but throughout the continent.
“With this new date, it gives us the possibility of having safer Games for everyone because when the time comes, we will have a higher vaccination rate in the host country.”
The news comes just days after the somewhat shock announcement that the 49th edition of the Carifta Games, scheduled to be hosted in Bermuda from August 13 to 15 had been cancelled for a second successive year.
Originally rescheduled for Easter weekend, the event was first postponed to July and then to August, before being struck from the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association calendar altogether much to the surprise and dismay of Donna Raynor, the president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association and chairwoman of the local organising committee .