Race for 2019 Pan American Games between Lima and Santiago, claims Peruvian official

Thursday, 10 October 2013
By Duncan Mackay at the Westin Harbour Castle Conference Centre in Toronto

There are four bidders for the 2019 Pan American and Parapan Games but Lima and Santiago are considered the front-runnersOctober 10 - Lima and Santiago will contest the race to host the 2019 Pan American and Parapan Games here tomorrow, the head of the Peruvian Sport Institute (IPD) has predicted.

Francisco Boza, President of the IPD, claimed the campaign has come down to the capital cities of Peru and Chile respectively.

La Punta a city founded only in 2003 in Argentina which is more than 500 miles away from the capital Buenos Aires and has a population of less than 15,000, and Ciudad Bolivar, in Venezuela, are both also bidding.

But Boza has written them off.

"Based on feedback from the heads of the Olympic Committees of the Americas, the two cities with the better proposals are Lima and Santiago," he said here.

Lima, beaten for the 2015 Games by Toronto, is considered the favourite.

If Santiago is to win then it must overcome its history of having been awarded the Games twice before only to pull out at late notice on each occasion.

They were awarded the 1975 event but withdrew, they claimed, because of economic problems following the overthrow of the country's dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The Games were instead held in Mexico City.

Santiago were then awarded the 1987 Pan American Games but handed back the rights following an earthquake in Algarrobo two years before which left a million people homeless and cost the Chilean Government $1 billion (£618 million/€739 million) to repair the infrastructure.

The Games were instead awarded to Indianapolis in the United States.

If Chile's capital Santiago is awarded the Pan American Games it will be the third time they have been chosen but on the previous two occasions they had to withdrawIf Chile's capital Santiago is awarded the Pan American Games it will be the third time they have been chosen but on the previous two occasions they had to withdraw

Santiago were also awarded the second Winter Pan American Games in 1993 but they were cancelled by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) after the United States decided not to take part. 

Chile's President Sebastián Piñera is hopeful that Santiago can show to the delegates tomorrow that the city is much more stable than when they were previously awarded the Games.

Santiago is due to host next year's South American Games while in 2015 Chile is scheduled to stage the Copa América and FIFA Under-17 World Cup. 

"We will inaugurate a total of 13 professional stadiums, 156 mini stadiums in municipalities throughout the country, and 30 sports centres," said Piñera when laying out his plans for development in his country.

"We are taking a major step forward in terms of infrastructure."

Each of the 41 countries that are a member of PASO has a vote tomorrow but those that staged the Games -  Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela - will get to cast extra votes.

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