Panam Sport Development Commission meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica

Ashley Kelly – Virgin Islands (UK)

Ashley Kelly, Athlete Representative, Panam Sport Commission Board and BVI Senior Athlete (400m & 200m) reports on first meeting of the year

My birthday, March 25th, was a day filled with exciting experiences. I was fortunate to travel to San Jose, Costa Rica for the Sports Development Commission meeting, the first meeting of the year, and my second attendance since I was named an Athlete Representative for the Panam Sport Commission board. I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica at 1:00pm in the afternoon, and by 4:30pm I was in my first meeting. There was no time to be wasted as we were only in Costa Rica for less than 48 hours.

Finalizing the Tokyo 2020 Development Camp was on the agenda this year. The Camp is designed to help athletes who qualify for the Tokyo Games travel to Japan up to ten days before the opening of the Village and use Olympic standard facilities.

The Camp will provide an opportunity for smaller countries with low funding to send their qualified athletes over to Tokyo early so they can become acclimated with the time zone change and ensure that the athlete has every opportunity to perform optimally during the competition. The intent of the Camp is to help level the playing field in competing against much larger countries with funding for elite facilities.

Since the Virgin Islands’ average attendance at the Games is about 4-5 athletes, the territory is eligible to take advantage of the initiative and attend a prearranged camp before Tokyo 2020.

Sport Development
As an Athlete Representative, I have the opportunity to sit in on all the Sport Development meetings and provide useful subjective insight into situations that many executives look at objectively. Organizations have to pay careful attention to their “bottom line,” and make strategic decisions, but it is vital to take into account an athlete’s point of view because these decisions directly impact us athletes and our ability to prepare, train and compete in major games.

The trip wasn’t all work and no play; it concluded with a beautiful dinner at Costa Rica Olympic Committee’s property. The Costa Rica OC’s property was a gorgeous estate once owned by a Costa Rican drug lord, seized by the government and given to the Costa Rica OC to use for offices, an event hall, weight lifting facility, and open grassland.

My own President of the BVIOC, Mr. Ephraim Penn, joined me at dinner. I recently learned that he is also a member of the Panam Sports Commission for New Events which is currently working on the inaugural meeting of the Panam Junior Games in Cali, Columbia in 2023.

I traveled out to Miami at 6 am the next morning and resumed training for the opening of my upcoming season, energized by the brief but enlightening trip.

Being a member of the Panam Sports Athlete Commission is an honor, and I am elated with the opportunity each time I get an assignment or correspondence from the Board. Through this experience I’ve made new relationships with sports executives, I’ve learned a great deal about the business of sport, behind the scenes of the events we athletes compete at, and the numerous strategic decisions made to further opportunities for athletes to compete in the Panam region.

Athletes will feel at home at Lima 2019

The VIDENA sports complex is one of the multiple sports venues which will be used during the Lima 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games. It includes the velodrome, athletics stadium and warm-up track, an aquatics centre with three pools, a 24-lane bowling alley, an indoor sports arena, plus an upgraded administration building and the Lima 2019 Control Centre. Photo: Lima 2019

With just under four months to go until the Games begin, the construction of the Pan American and Parapan American Games Village, located in Villa El Salvador, Lima, has been completed ahead of schedule. The village is now ready to welcome athletes, Para athletes and technical officials who will travel to Peru in July 2019 to compete in the Pan Am Games.

The Fields of Play have already been established for the majority of the sports at Villa Maria del Triunfo and VIDENA sports complexes that will each host multiple sports during the Games.

Kyron McMaster automatically qualified to compete in Lima 2019 when he won gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2018 Central American Caribbean (CAC) Games in August 2018. Eldred Henry’s recent record-setting achievements during the 2019 indoor and outdoor season have also qualified him for the Games.

With qualifying meets and competitions now underway, the BVI Olympic Committee anticipates additional athletes from track and field, swimming and sailing to qualify over the coming months.

The Pan Am Games is the largest multi sport event in the Americas and while the Virgin Islands is one of two countries yet to win a medal at these games, we are very optimistic of our chances at Lima 2019,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee.

President of Lima 2019, Carlos Neuhaus said that “Lima 2019 will be a sporting and, at the same time, a cultural festival that will allow Peru to be seen by the eyes of the world. In our capacity as host, we will offer athletes sports infrastructure with quality standards and a cultural program of equal quality. The success of the Games will be the great experience that athletes and visitors will be able to have, and the legacy left for Peruvians.”

About the Pan American Games
The Pan American Games (Pan Am Games) is a major sporting event in the Americas featuring a variety of summer sports in which athletes from nations of the Americas compete every four years in the year before the Summer Olympic Games. The 2019 Pan Am and Parapan American Games will take place in Lima, Peru in July and August.

The opening ceremony of the Lima 2019 Pan American Games will be held at the National Stadium on July 26, 2019. This continental event will gather 6680 athletes from 41 countries and delegations from the Americas.

There will be 17 days of competitions and ceremonies, between July 26 and August 11, 2019, which will take place in 14 districts of Lima and Callao at various venues such as VIDENA, Villa María del Triunfo Sports Center, Callao Regional Village, Villa El Salvador Sports Center, Punta Rocas, among others.

The Lima 2019 Pan American Games will include 39 sports and 62 disciplines, where athletes will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. A total of 23 disciplines are qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Parapan American Games will gather 1890 Para athletes from 33 countries, participating in 17 sports and 18 disciplines. Competitions will take place between August 23 and September 1, 2019. Fourteen sports quotas for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be granted.

On March 27, 2019, the Panam sports Executive Committee agreed that Cali, the “capital of sport” in Colombia will host the first Junior Pan American Games for young athletes in 2021.

About Panam Sports
Panam Sports (formerly known as Pan American Sports Organization – PASO) is the governing body of the Pan American Games and its structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter. Panam Sports is the leader of sports and the Olympic Movement in the Americas and encourages the sports development and supports the work of the 41 National Olympic Committees members, in order to inspire more world-class performances and the next generation of athletes across our region.

Panam Sports considers bids from host cities for inaugural Junior Panam Games planned for 2021.

Mexico City, February 26, 2019 – After a thorough review of the proposals, Panam Sports leaders feel confident that the inaugural edition of the Junior Pan American Games to be held in 2021 for athletes ages 18-23 can be quite successful.

Concluding a week of inspecting plans and proposals for the first edition of the Games, the Panam Sports Evaluation Commission are excited about the possibilities presented by the candidatures of Cali, Colombia and Santa Ana, El Salvador as potential host cities of the event along with Monterrey, Mexico.

“The summary of our visits is very positive. What we found in Cali is a very solid candidature that’s well structured with very complete infrastructure. And what we’ve found in El Salvador is a group that’s very enthusiastic with the support of the city and the support of the Olympic Committee, and a desire to transform Santa Ana through hosting the Junior Pan American Games. We are impressed with both candidatures and still look forward to reviewing the project from Monterrey in more detail, but I can say that that we have chosen competitive cities as the potential hosts of these first Junior Pan American Games in history,” said Ivar Sisniega, Panam Sports Secretary General and Chairman of the Evaluation Commission.

Panam Sports created these Games after identifying a substantial gap in the opportunities available for athletes in this age category to develop and compete at a world-class level once they are ineligible for Youth sporting events.

The Junior Pan Am Games aim to eliminate this gap and increase the likelihood of additional government funding by providing a high-performance multi sport event for the young athletes of all 41 countries in the Panam Sports family. The goal is for the Junior Pan Am Games to also provide direct qualification to the next Pan American Games, ensuring consistent opportunities to further develop as an athlete.

The 10 members of the Panam Sports Evaluation Commission visited Cali and Santa Ana consecutively from February 18 to 22, while an inspection visit to Monterrey is planned in March.

After thoroughly reviewing all three proposals for the Games, the Panam Sports Executive Committee will choose the Host City of the 2021 Junior Pan American Games at its meeting scheduled for March 27 to 28 in San Jose, Costa Rica.