With a banner on the tallest building in the city of Cali and a spectacular fireworks show, Colombia, Cali and Panam Sports begin the One-Year Countdown to the Cali-Valle 2021 Junior Pan American Games.

“For Colombia it is an honor to host the Junior Pan American Games, one of the most important sporting events in the world for young people,” said Colombian President Iván Duque from Bogota.

CALI, COLOMBIA (September 9, 2020) — The more than 2.4 million inhabitants of Cali, Colombia were able to enjoy a spectacular fireworks show from the Cali Tower, the tallest building in the city at more than 180 meters high that you can see from any corner of the “Salsa Capital of the World”. These fireworks started the countdown to the most important sports event for young people in the world: the Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games.

The event was attended in person by the Director of the Games Jose Luis Echeverry and representatives of the Valle del Cauca Government from a room in the Cali Tower Hotel. From Bogota, the President of the Republic of Colombia Ivan Duque and the Colombian Sports Minister Ernesto Lucena joined the event remotely. The President of the Colombian Olympic Committee, Baltazar Medina, joined virtually from Medellin and the President of the Cali 2021 Coordination Commission, Sara Rosario did the same from Puerto Rico. And from Santiago, Chile, the President of Panam Sports and International Olympic Committee Member, Neven Ilic, also virtually joined this spectacular event.

At the Ceremony, which was broadcast live by Telepacifico within Colombia and live-streamed on the Panam Sports Channel throughout the Americas and the world, both sports and government authorities explained the importance of this event, the advances that have been made so far and important details of the continental event that will take place from September 9 to 19, 2021.

“A year from today, we will be welcoming the Junior Pan American Games in our country, one of the most important sports events in the world for the youth. It is an honor for Colombia to receive the Junior Pan American Games in the region of Valle del Cauca, with Cali as its main Host City, but also having over six municipalities as sub-sites for the Games. The eyes of the international community will continue to see our country as a promising land, and above all, as a place where sport is part of the development agenda,” said the President of the Republic of Colombia, Ivan Duque.

“We have already entered the final stretch of these Cali-Valle 2021 Junior Pan American Games with the One-Year Countdown event. We are very happy with the commitment and motivation of all of Colombia to organize this great sports festival, which we are sure will be very successful. In Cali we will see the new generation of athletes, the best on the continent who represent the future of our region, and that will be fundamental for our great objective as an Organization to continue with the sports development of the Americas,” Panam Sports President Neven Ilic said emphatically.

Outstanding athletes from the continent also had the opportunity to speak on behalf of these Games. Among them, an athlete who is considered one of the best in the history of Colombia, the two-time Olympic Champion, Mariana Pajon.

“I am very happy because the first Junior Pan American Games will be in my land, in my country of Colombia. We are one year away from this great sports festival and I want to invite all the athletes of the continent to participate in this great event, Cali-Valle 2021, ‘All For You’,” Pajon said.

Athletes who will be the protagonists of these Games next year also showed their joy at having this competition.

“This will be a spectacular party, a crazy thing, and I hope to do the best for my country and represent them with everything I have, with the love and passion that I always bring to each championship,” said the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games Diving Champion from Colombia, Daniel Restrepo.

Table Tennis Lima 2019 gold medalist Adriana Diaz from Puerto Rico, who has also qualified to Tokyo 2020, shared a similar opinion, stating: “the best young athletes from 41 nations are ready to show their passion and dedication in this historic event. We are ready to give our ‘All For You’.”

Nicholas Paul, the Pan American Track Cycling Champion and the World Record holder in the 200m Time Trial from Trinidad and Tobago, said that “winning the gold medal at the Pan American Games showed me that I can compete against the best of the best. I can’t wait to see thousands of young athletes have the opportunity to compete in the first Junior Pan American Games of Cali 2021.”

From the United States, the female athlete with the most medals at Lima 2019, Rhythmic Gymnast Evita Griskenas, enthusiastically added that “I will be very excited to see the next generation of athletes, encouraging them to live this experience. The Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games are ready to give their ‘All For You’.”

After the speeches and videos, the most important moment of the Ceremony arrived, the presentation of the banner measuring 50 by 12 meters that was placed at the top of the Cali Tower so that it could be seen from any point of view in the city. This was followed by the powerful fireworks show that completely lit up the Caleño sky and officially started the One-Year Countdown for this sports festival that will host more than 5,000 people, including athletes and officials, becoming the most important and massive sporting event for young athletes throughout the world in 2021.

Visit the Cali-Valle 2021 website for more information about the Games.