Countdown to Pan American Games

Mexican Ambassador, Gerardo Lozano (second from the left); with General Secretary of the St Lucia Olympic Committee, Alfred Emmanuel; and Embassy staff members at Wednesday’s press conference marking 100 days to the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The countdown is on for the 16th Pan American Games taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico from October 14 to October 30. With the objective of marking 100 days before this important sports event and to offer a welcome address to St Lucia, the media was invited to a press briefing on Wednesday in the conference room of the Embassy of Mexico at Vigie.
In welcoming everyone Mexican Ambassador, Gerardo Lozano, proudly announced: “We are here today to tell St Lucia and the other Caribbean countries, that Mexico is ready to host the Pan American Games which is the most important sport event after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and before the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
Following those words, there was a slide presentation focusing on the State of Jalisco and its capital Guadalajara, showing the extensive undertaking to host this prestigious sports event. In order to hold competitions in 36 different sports, it was necessary to build 23 stadiums equipped with state-of-the-art technology, renovate three existing venues and make use of three private sports complexes.
With respect to available services, Guadalajara had to increase its hotel infrastructure by 30 percent from 16,000 to 21,000 hotel rooms and improve roadways.
What is the economic spinoff for Mexico? It is estimated that hosting the Pan American Games would produce an economic bonus of around $2.7 billion, which is the equivalent of four times the total value of all registered tequila exports in 2010.
In addition to hosting the Pan American Games, the Parapan American Games also take place in Guadalajara from November 12-20. The Parapan Games is a multi-sport event held every four years after every Pan American Games for athletes with physical disabilities.
General Secretary of the St Lucia Olympic Committee, Alfred Emmanuel, offered his congratulations to Ambassador Lozano and said “it is a proud moment for the Mexican people, the Mexican Government, the Mexican Olympic Committee and more so the Local Organizing Committee of the Pan American Games, with just 100 days away from such a sports festival.”
Emmanuel pointed out it has not been an easy road for the organizing committee in Guadalajara due to several challenges, however, he told the gathering, “I am confident that the games will come off successfully and that everyone will be satisfied by the various preparations that are in place.”
St Lucia is among the several countries competing at the Pan American Games. The team presently consists of world class high jumper Levern Spencer, collegiate standouts Janelle Scheper (high jump), Darvin Edwards (high jump), Makeba Alcide (pentathlon), Erma Gene Evans (javelin), Danielle Beaubrun (swimming) and Rick Valcin (pole vault).
Preparation will be the key for St Lucian athletes. They will not only face stiff competition, but will have to combat Mexico’s high altitude which could leave them breathless.
With that in mind Emmanuel said: “Yes we recognize the fact the location would be challenging for athletes coming from this part of the world and we have taken this into consideration. In terms of getting the athletes into Guadalajara, they will be arriving well ahead of the competition so they can acclimatize themselves and be ready to compete.”
Following a question and answer session, a few lucky members of the press, including yours truly, received a bottle of tequila and sampled some rather tasty Mexican dishes.

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