November 6 - Toronto was chosen to host the 2015 Pan-American Games, beating Lima and Bogota at the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) Assembly in Guadalajara today.

The Canadian city won in the first round of voting with 33 votes. Lima received 11 votes while Bogota had seven.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the vote as an important day for the country which will also host the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

He said: "This is an exciting day for all Canadians.

"We are all looking forward to welcoming the Games in 2015."

Toronto Mayor David Miller said: "Canadians love sports and we are known for our hospitality, an unbeatable combination for successful Games.

"Toronto promises to organise the best Pan-American Games in history and I am certain that Lima and Bogota will one day win the right to host them."

The Pan-American Games has taken place in Canada on two previous occasions - in Winnipeg in 1967 and 1999.

Toronto's budget for the 2015 Games is $2.5 billion (£1.5 billion), 10 times more than the $259 million (£156 million) of Lima with Bogota's budget set at $200 million (£120 million).

Toronto, which has twice failed with bids to host the Olympics, got a huge boost from the 26 countries that make up the Caribbean contingent which Barbados delegate Steve Stoute had pushed towards the Canadian bid.

He said: "Toronto is a fantastic choice.

"I've been to a lot of these and from a technical perspective it was the best bid.

"Today's final presentation put them over the top with the support they promised the athletes.

"It's what delegates wanted to hear.

"The Carribean was 99 per cent supportive.

"There might've been one or two countries who didn't vote for Toronto."

More than 10,000 competitors and athletes from 42 countries are expected to take part in the event which will feature 36 sports after another six were today added to the programme.

The new sports are karate, 10-pin bowling, Basque pelota, water skiing, squash and roller skating.

The city is proposing to spend about $1.3 billion (£782 million), including a new community at the city’s lakeshore for an Athletes’ Village.

Under the plan, the city of Hamilton, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) South West of Toronto will build a 15,000-seat stadium, which will be one of 50 venues in 17 municipalities in southern Ontario.

The facilities will enhance transportation networks in the region and boost economic output, the city said.

About 50,000 jobs will be created as a result, it has been claimed.

Rio de Janeiro hosted the 2007 Pan Am Games and used the event as a launch pad for its successful bid to land the 2016 Olympics.

But Guadalajara's preparations for the 2011 Games have been beset by problems and construction delays.

Chris Rudge, chief executive of the Canadian Olympic Committee, said bringing the Pan Am Games to Toronto will benefit summer athletes much the same as winter athletes have reaped the rewards of the 1988 Calgary Games and 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

He said: "Aside from the sport legacy that will drive us into the future, our goal is for Canada's summer athletes to continue the pattern of rising success at major competitions.

"This will be a Pan Am Games to watch."

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