Carlos Neuhaus: “We work hard so Peru fulfills its commitment”
Less than a week before the Pan American Games Opening Ceremony, the President of the Lima 2019 Organizing Committee talked about the issues and challenges successfully met, in the preparation of this major event.
Monday, July 20—. Carlos Neuhaus, president of the Lima 2019 Organizing Committee (COPAL), stated that the main mission during his administration was to fulfill a State commitment: to make these Pan American and Parapan American Games a success.
“We couldn’t let the country be ashamed before the Americas and be known as a country that fails to fulfill a commitment. That was our main motivation,” he said this morning in a radio interview.
“On July 26, it will be two years and 10 months since I took on this challenge, that Peru had also taken on as a host country in October 2013. We dedicated to work as hard as possible and we didn't focus on seeing what happened before, because if we continued digging into the past, we wasted time. That will be taken care of by others.”
He explained that if the commitment had not been fulfilled, the fee would have been 50 million dollars, and other sports competitions could not be organized in the country for 10 or 20 years.
On the other hand, he assured that a saving was made possible in the execution of the initial budget: the master plan included five billion PEN, but only four billion, three hundred million PEN have been used.
“We have tried to save money everywhere. For example, the master plan included that we had to build 39 towers in the Pan American and Parapan American Village; a breakwater in La Punta, which would have cost like the Village. Well, instead of 39 towers we built 7, and instead of the breakwater—which would have been a huge legacy, but was a cost we couldn’t afford—we moved the venue for rowing competitions to the Albúfera de Medio Mundo in Huacho, which is amazing.”
Neuhaus also highlighted the government-to-government agreement with the UK as one of the most important and wise decisions in this demanding process.
“The British Government hired the best representatives in the world: the project looks like the United Nations. They have helped us, for example–in the case of the most difficult works–with the NEC (New Engineering Contract) contract modality, acting as the central project office, where bids were made, and with our approval, contracts were awarded, agreements were signed, and the inspections started. We could not afford to fail, so it was better to work with people who had already done it before, and had already made mistakes: there was no need to reinvent the wheel. Likewise, we currently have technicians and professionals who are being hired for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Regarding the start of the competitions, he stressed that the 21 sports that will be qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 will attract the leading sports figures of the Americas, and this number of people also represents a recognition to the work performed by the organization.
“The Toronto Pan American Games only included 12 sports that were qualifiers for the Rio Olympic Games, which means that as time went by, these sports increased. This means that the best athletes from the Americas will come to secure their tickets to the Olympic Games,” he explained.
THE BEGINNING OF THE GREAT SPORTS EVENT
Regarding the Opening Ceremony, he revealed that–after the Pan American Torch ceremony in Teotihuacán, Mexico, and its arrival in Peru–the Torch will be transported by the “Unión” ship, one of the largest and fastest sailboats in the world, which has won international regattas in the United States and Canada, from Callao to Lima; finally entering the National Stadium where the ceremony will be held.
“We are going to show Peru's history. In two hours and twenty minutes, we are going to show the Inca era, the popular culture, there will be Peruvian Paso horses, Caballitos de Totora, etc. Additionally, Juan Diego Flórez, who was already preparing his orchestra since we took up the challenge of the Lima 2019 Games, will be part of this celebration.”
Finally, he confessed that the most important challenge for him are the Parapan American Games: to make all sport venues accessible and to change the civic mindset of Peruvians regarding people with an impairment.
“We are working very hard so that the municipalities design the streets for people to move in wheelchairs throughout the city. We have to make everyone understand that there are people who don’t have the same luck as we do, and the best way to achieve this is catching their attention through emotional experiences, showing how these amazing Para athletes do sports in a wheelchair and manage to overcome great challenges.”
ABOUT LIMA 2019
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, which will take place in 14 districts of Lima and Callao at various venues like VIDENA, Villa María 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 61 disciplines, in which athletes will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. A total of 22 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 from August 23 to September 1, 2019. Thirteen sports will be qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.