Lima Wins 2019 Pan American Games Bid On First Ballot
Reporting from the scene at the 51st PASO General Assembly in Toronto, Canada
Toronto, Canada - Lima in Peru has defeated rivals Santiago, La Punta and Ciudad Bolivar to win the right to host the 2019 Pan American Games. The decision was made Friday at the 51st PASO General Assembly in Toronto, Canada.
Lima received 31 votes to win on the first ballot; Santiago and La Punta each received 9 votes and Ciudad Bolivar drew 8.
Lima bid for the 2015 Games, coming second with only 11 votes to Toronto’s 42. The Peruvian city had been considered the favourite throughout the 2019 campaign. Peru has never hosted a Pan Am Games.
The city projects that by 2019 it will have a population in excess of 12 million citizens and boasts a compact and efficient two-cluster plan with the buzzwords “one Games, one city.”
“With Lima, your Pan American Games will be treated with the respect they deserve,” officials declared urging delegates to choose Peru first.
The bid stressed that they have improved since their loss four-years ago, and the bid is ready now.
Santiago in Chile won the right to host the Pan Am Games twice previously in 1975 and 1987, but on both occasions pulled out of the project due to economic difficulties and natural disaster. Chile has never hosted.
Framing their final presentation, the bid team showed a video documenting the dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners in 2010 that riveted the world, demonstrating that with Chilean dedication nothing is impossible and dreams can come true. In the finale, the lead miner (#33) Luis Urzua was introduced from outside the room and appeared on-stage with an impassioned plea to voting members to choose Santiago and that they would deliver the Games with the same determination.
His appearance excited the room full of delegates, and the videos locked their attention.
La Punta, a new city (since 2003) in central Argentina, is in the San Luis Province with a total population of 432,000. The Argentine capital of Buenos Aires recently won hosting rights to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games pulling focus from the nation’s Pan Am Games ambitions. Argentina has twice hosted the Games – in Buenos Aires in 1951 and Mar del Plata in 1995.
The Argentine delegation stressed that environmentalism and sustainability are at the centre of its bid and that “a small city can also be a star.” They promised paid airfare for delegates and officials, clothing kits for athletes, scholarships for athletes, tablet PC’s with free wifi for athletes and accredited journalists, and organic dining options.
Cuidad Bolivar is located in northern Venezuela with a population of 350,000. Caracas was a previous Venezuelan host in 1983. Officials report that USD $1.5 billion has been budgeted for the Games.
Bolivar touted its central Pan American location at the top of the South American continent as a geographical advantage; “the gateway to South America.”
“We believe small towns can host the best athletes of the world,” Alejandra Benitez Romero, the Minister of Sports, told members.
There were 57 votes in total on the first ballot, each of the PASO member nations get a vote and additional votes are from each of the nations that have previously hosted the Pan Am Games. A city must get more than 50% to win a ballot – 29 was the magic number.
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