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THOMAS BACH: “MANY OLYMPIC ATHLETES LAY FOUNDATIONS FOR SUCCESS IN PAN AMERICAN GAMES”

The leader of the worldwide Olympic Movement was a special guest at the final day of the LIX Panam Sports General Assembly ahead of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

With the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games just two days away, the leaders of Americas’ Olympic Movement gathered to discuss the future of sport in the continent at the Panam Sports General Assembly.

The continent’s top sport leaders were joined by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach who flew to the Chilean capital following the IOC Session in Mumbai, India to participate in both the General Assembly and the Opening Ceremony of Santiago 2023 scheduled for Friday, October 20.

The assembly led by Panam Sports President Neven Ilic began with a presentation by the Asuncion 2025 Junior Pan American Games Organizing Committee as preparations begin to continue the new sporting tradition started in Cali, Colombia in 2021.

After the morning reports and presentations, President Ilic thanked the IOC President for making the journey to support the continent’s top sporting event.

“Chile will have the opportunity to see sport in another way, to see sport as a tool, as a path to improve youth, to improve values, to improve society. That is the great legacy, the great pride that these Pan American and Parapan American Games are going to leave behind. Chile has delivered President [Bach], we are very happy and have great expectations for the beginning of these Pan American Games and we thank you again for flying from Mumbai to be with us today,” Panam Sports President Neven Ilic told the assembly.

The floor was then given to the IOC President who expounded on the history of Panam Sports, the values of Olympism and the importance of the Pan American Games to the Olympic Movement while also looking forward to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“It is wonderful to be surrounded by the Panam Sports community again, especially in such exciting moments as the present on the eve of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games. This is also a year of anniversaries, many of its NOCs are turning 100 years old, in addition to Panam Sports which celebrates 75 years of sporting excellence in the Americas. Your anniversaries are not just milestones for your continent, they are milestones for the entire Olympic Movement. I extend my congratulations and thanks to all of you, the NOCs and especially Panam Sports led by Neven Ilic, for everything you do to promote sport and the Olympic Spirit,” the IOC President said.

He then spoke about the importance of the Pan American Games to the Olympic Movement, noting that Santiago 2023 will offer a world record of 31 Olympic qualifiers that either give direct tickets to Pairs or provide points towards Olympic rankings and the opportunity to achieve Olympic qualifying standards.

“Many of these Olympic athletes laid the foundations for their success in the Pan American Games, something you should feel very, very proud of. Obviously I hope to see many athletes in action at these Santiago 2023 Pan American Games. These are the examples of this continent’s reputation as an excellent host of first-class sporting events,” Bach added.

Regarding Paris 2024, he expressed his pleasure at the fact of hosting Olympic Games where the stadiums will be full of people once more, a fact made possible because Tokyo and Beijing were able to host the Games despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

To close the General Assembly, Panam Sports President Neven Ilic presented a commemorative plaque recognizing the 75 years of the organization to IOC President Thomas Bach.