The 2019 Pan American Senior Judo Championships in Lima provided a prime opportunity for organisers to fine-tune preparations for this year's Pan American Games ©Lima 2019

Lima 2019 President Carlos Neuhaus says the Organising Committee can sense excitement growing across Peru for this year’s Pan American Games following the staging of the first test event.

The Pan American Senior Judo Championships provided a prime opportunity for organisers to fine-tune preparations and for fans to experience elite competition at the refurbished Videna Sports Center 1 for the first time.

They were held from Thursday (April 25) to Sunday (April 28) and featured judokas from 29 countries across the Americas.

With the tournament offering qualification for Lima 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, many of the continent’s top athletes were competing, including reigning Olympic champions Paula Pareto of Argentina and Rafaela Silva of Brazil, as well as world champion Mayra Aguiar of Brazil.

As hosts, Lima 2019 offered free admission to fans, attracting thousands of spectators over the four days

Additional test events for athletics, volleyball, weightlifting and other sports will take place in the coming weeks.

"Lima 2019’s first test event is an opportunity for fans, volunteers and athletes to get a preview of what Lima 2019 has in store for them," Neuhaus said.

"Now these judokas can imagine themselves competing for that Pan American Games gold right here in a few months' time.

"We can sense the excitement growing across Peru for the high level of sports competition that is now close at hand.

"The test events are very important for the Lima 2019 Organising Committee because they will help us enhance our operational readiness and ensure our Games showcases the very best of Peru and the Americas."

Representing Peru at the Pan American Senior Judo Championships were Juan Miguel Postigos, Yuta Galarreta Villar, Alonso Wong, Daryl Yamamoto, Kiara Arango Miranda, Xsara Morales and Brillith Gamarra Carbajal.

The home nation registered its best finish of third in the team competition, earning a place on the podium alongside winners Brazil and silver medallists Cuba. 

Fans turned out in their numbers at Videna Sports Center 1 ©Lima 2019
Fans turned out in their numbers at Videna Sports Center 1 ©Lima 2019

Postigos and Gamarra Carbajal also won silver in the men's under-66 kilograms and bronze in the women's under-52kg categories, respectively. 

Brazil topped the medal count with 16 medals over the four days of competition, including five gold medals.

"We always feel good in Peru, but we feel better this time because they worked hard to give us great conditions to compete in the best way," Pareto said.

"Lima has succeeded in this test event."

Brazil's Daniel Cargnin and Larissa Pimenta, gold medallists in the men's under-66kg and women's under-52kg divisions, respectively, expressed their belief that Lima is ready for the Pan American Games.

"We loved the attention [to detail], from the food to the services before fighting on the tatami," they said.

"Everything looks so colourful, ready to welcome the athletes back for the Games."

The Videna National Sports Complex will host a variety of indoor and outdoor sports during Lima 2019.

The facility includes a velodrome, a warm-up track and an athletics stadium with an International Association of Athletics Federations-approved competition track that has been expanded to accommodate 10,000 spectators. 

Videna also features a new aquatics centre with three pools that can seat 4,300, as well as a new 24-lane bowling alley and three indoor sports arenas. 

It will host competitions for athletics, badminton, bowling, track cycling, handball, judo, roller skating, squash, swimming and table tennis during Lima 2019.

The multi-sport event is due to run from July 26 to August 11.