Panam Sports President Neven Ilic met with the President and Secretary General of each National Olympic Committee of the continent over the course of 12 days in April and May to determine their needs, current projects and plans for the future.

A total of 37 countries of the Americas attended these sessions with only the meetings of the United States, Canada and Brazil — the three sports superpowers of the region — still pending. These meetings will be scheduled once conclusions are drawn from the first 37 sessions.

MIAMI, USA (May 24, 2022) — Panam Sports President Neven Ilic, Secretary General Ivar Sisniega, Vice Presidents Mario Moccia, Jimena Saldaña and Keith Joseph as well as former Chilean athlete Carolina Sanz came prepared with a series of pertinent questions for the meetings with National Olympic Committees at the Panam Sports office in Miami.

What are your primary needs? What help do you receive from the government? What is your perspective and experience from the Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games? What are your projections for Santiago 2023 and Paris 2024? How can we help you as Panam Sports?

These meetings were a continuation of the initiative that started during President Ilic’s first year as head of Panam Sports as he sought to open the doors of the organization to each of the NOCs in order to understand their unique situations, work together to solve their problems and support their sports development in the best way possible.

With the contagion rates of the pandemic slowing and following the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics, the idea was to once again bring together the main sports leaders of the member countries of Panam Sports together for a new series of meetings between April and May.

In total there were 37 countries (Bahamas was the only country that could not attend), divided into two week-long sessions. Meetings were conducted with the Spanish-speaking countries in April, including: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Bolivia, Aruba and Honduras.

Meetings with the English-speaking NOCs just concluded on Sunday, May 22, featuring representatives from: Bermuda, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Cayman Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Grenada, Suriname and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The work was conducted over a total of 12 days and more than 100 hours of meetings. The summary of the sessions is extremely positive.

“It has been very clarifying to be able to meet in person with each of them, to listen to what their realities are, their requirements, their needs. We want to face these next challenges that we have such as the Pan American Games, the Olympic Games in Paris and everything else that is coming during these next 2-3 years together as a continent. The fact that Panam Sports is clear about how to help each one is very important. Different types of support are needed here, because there are many shortcomings, there are some NOCs that do not have internal support, so it is essential to know what level they are at and what type of support they need through our programs in the coming years,” said Panam Sports President Neven Illic.

What is the greatest concern or where do you see the greatest shortcoming in the NOCs of the Americas?
“I don’t see shortcomings, I see realities. We know that the development of sport in the countries of our region is something that is not easy, where the governments are not clearly defined to support them in an unrestricted manner. So the effort made by the Olympic Committees and the federations to carry forward sport in their country is a very difficult task, especially those who do not receive any help from the government. But that is where, together with Olympic Solidarity — which was present in all the meetings with us — we have to show the tools available and be able to support them. Here it is not about looking for guilt, here you have to understand what the situation is and be able to help them.”

Is the summary positive then, President?
“Of course it is. We are on a very good path. Today we are very clear about what the reality is, we are also aware of the programs that we are going to present, the high-level training camps that we are going to organize and the training for leaders that we are going to implement. Financial support is also essential for them to be able to carry out the work they have in mind for the coming years, and we will also help them with that. So I am very happy with these meetings that were tremendously positive,” concluded Ilic.