By David Owen at the Marriott CasaMagna in Puerto Vallarta

Canada's women's cycling team are set to be part of a record female participation at a multi-sport Games ©Getty ImagesAs many as 45 per cent of athletes competing at this year's Toronto Pan American Games may be women, in what would set a record for a multi-sports event, it was claimed here today.

Speaking at a meeting of the Pan American Association of Sports Confederations (ACODEPA), Michael Fennell, President of the Technical Committee of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), said that provisions had been made for the participation of 45 per cent women.

This, he said, would be "the largest quota of women in any multi-sports Games".

All told, the final quota of athletes has been set at 6,136 in 36 sports.

Both women's baseball and women's rugby sevens are included, helping to lift the proportion of female athletes closer to the point where full gender equality is attained.

Fennell also disclosed that Toronto 2015 would have more Olympic qualifiers than at any previous Pan American Games, with 19 disciplines offering either direct or indirect Olympic qualification.

"We would like to increase those numbers in the coming years," Fennell said.

Bob O'Doherty, senior vice-president sport and venues on the Toronto 2015 Organising Committee, said that four International Sports Federations, including aquatics body FINA, had agreed to move the dates of their World Championships to help better accommodate Toronto 2015.

FINA are one of four International Federations to move the date of their World Championships to accommodate Toronto 2015 ©Getty ImagesFINA are one of four International Federations to move the date of their World Championships to accommodate Toronto 2015 ©Getty Images

Even so, owing to the relatively close proximity of the events, the Pan American water polo and synchronised swimming competitions would both commence before the Games' July 10 Opening Ceremony.

The Pan American Games will run from July 10 to 26, with the Parapan American Games scheduled for August 7 to 15.

Fennell also spoke of the need to raise the Pan American brand to "a higher level of importance worldwide", saying: "We all know" that the profile of the Pan American Games is not "where it should be".

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