On January 28 and 29, the president of Panam Sports (the Pan American Sports Organization), Neven Ilic, oversaw the future venues of Lima 2019, alongside Chile’s minister of sport, Pauline Kantor, and members of the Panam Sports Infrastructure Commission.
On the first day, the officials—accompanied by Wilhelm Funcke, Infrastructure general manager—toured the National Sports Village (Videna), the Army Equitation School, the Pan American and Parapan American Village and the Villa Maria del Triunfo Sports Center.
The following day, they visited the Callao Regional Sports Village, the National Stadium, the Lawn Tennis Club, the Eduardo Dibós Coliseum and the Chorrillos Military School.
In an interview with EFE agency last month, the Panam Sports President stated: “Lima 2019 faces a logistic challenge; we have the infrastructure projects under control,” he was able to confirm his statement, now in situ.
“Today we see that what we planned a year and a half ago has been fully accomplished. The credit for this success goes to Lima 2019 Organizing Committee (COPAL), for Carlos Neuhaus and his team; the truth is, what we’ve seen has truly reassured me.”
At the National Sports Village (Videna)—the main sports venue for the Games—the officials toured Sports Center 3, the Bowling Center, the Athletic Stadium and its warm-up track, the Aquatic Center and the Velodrome.
In the Pan American and Parapan American Village, they visited the apartments where the athletes will stay and even went up to the roof of one of the seven towers.
The President of Panam Sports, a civil engineer by trade, praised the architectural level of the infrastructure projects and guaranteed that, by having an international quality standard, they will enable Peru to host any sports competition in the future.
“Everything has been done with great architectural detail, quality and attention to what athletes using the facilities require. It’s worth mentioning that the quality of the sports infrastructure you now have will allow you to apply to host any major event in the world.”
He also took a moment to talk about those staying at the spectacular Village: the young athletes. Panam Sports’ next challenge, after Lima 2019, will be the new 2021 Junior Games, created for the “Generation of the Future.”
Ilic explained that these Games were created with the intention of lessening a generalized problem in our continent: the lack of support in the training process of young athletes who seek to make it onto a national team. For this reason, he added, Lima 2019 will be a source of inspiration and a starting point for new generations.
“For a young athlete, becoming part of the national team is complicated in countries like ours, where the culture does not encourage supporting the new generations. These Games (Lima 2019) and these projects are, above all, for the young people who seek to make their way.”
At the Villa María del Triunfo Sports Center, the Commission visited the softball, rugby, hockey and baseball field, which already have synthetic turf; the Olympic swimming pool (50 m long and 25 m wide), recently installed and filled; and the recently painted basque pelota and fronton courts.
The Legacy is Everyone’s Challenge
“The Callao Regional Sports Village is spectacular. And so it the Coliseum. I loved the San Marcos football stadium. I think it has a very modern style: a flat and covered stadium. The construction is of the highest quality and a great contribution to the university community,” stated Ilic after visiting the Callao Regional Sports Village and its main venues: the Miguel Grau Coliseum and the Sports Center. Afterwards, the officials visited the San Marcos football stadium.
At the National stadium, venue of the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, the delegation observed the ceremony entry alternatives for the Pan American Family from the eight floor and visited the boxes and grandstands, as well as the legendary soccer field.
“It may be hard for you to see that what you’ve achieved in two years is amazing. At all the Games, it takes a while for the nation’s people to realize what’s happening, but I have no doubt that when the public sees the opening ceremony, the excitement and how everyone praises what they have achieved, they will be proud of how things turned out,” he added.
At the Lawn Tennis Club, a historic club founded in 1884 that will be remodeled to host the tennis competitions, they visited the communal spaces and clay courts.
It was precisely inside the “Hermanos Buse” Stadium of the club, where Peru played Chile in the Davis Cup in March 1994, where Ilic (former president of the Chile Tennis Federation and self-confessed tennis enthusiast) said:
“Tennis is the greatest sport in the world. This is an emblematic club, with many years of history, and it is also part of the Games’ legacy to bring one of Peru’s historic clubs back to life by remodeling it. So, I’m happy I made the final decision to be here.”
On the same day, the sports officials also toured the Dibós Coliseum, the future basketball venue, and the Chorrillos Military School, venue for bodybuilding, modern pentathlon and weightlifting. They also visited the Mariscal Cáceres Coliseum, the Olympic swimming pool and the stables, facilities which will be soon renovated.
Finally, regarding the tangible legacy of the Games and its use, the President of Panam Sports pointed out that, after the Games, it will continue to be everyone’s challenge, as Lima 2019’s slogan says.
“The Pan Americans Games will leave a wonderful legacy, which is what we have seen during these days. Up next is the challenge of state and government policies, of how to make good use of these sports venues: to encourage and manage to get children and everyone to use the facilities. The legacy is there, how it’s used is up everyone.”