Managua, Nicaragua, has been confirmed as the host city for the second edition of the Para Central American Games, set to take place from 21-28 January 2018.
Around 250 athletes from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will compete across six sports: athletics, boccia, goalball, powerlifting, swimming and wheelchair basketball.
"The Nicaragua 2018 Para Central American Games will provide many athletes from the region with their first opportunity to compete on the international level,” said Jose Luis Campo, President of the Americas Paralympic Committee.
"It will be a platform for Para athletes to later reach the Parapan American Games and the Paralympic Games. I am sure many of the ones competing in Nicaragua will be in Lima 2019 and Tokyo 2020.
"All six countries participated in the Toronto 2015 Parapans and the Sao Paulo 2017 Youth Parapans, showing their strong commitment to developing Para sports and their desire to test themselves against athletes from other countries.
"Although their delegations at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympics were not the biggest, we are convinced the Para Central American Games will support them in developing their grassroots and identifying new talents in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020.
“More importantly, the event will bring more young people from each country into Para sports and help them lead better and healthier lives.
“But Para athletes will not be the only ones to benefit from Nicaragua 2018, as regional classifiers, coaches and officials will also take this opportunity to learn and improve in their careers.”
Dionicio Zeledon, Secretary General of the Nicaraguan Paralympic Committee, added: “The continent already had Parapans, Youth Parapans and Para South American Games, so the Para Central American Games were the next step.
“Besides, the event’s equivalent for able-bodied athletes exists since 1973. It was important to have one for Para athletes.
“This is a huge opportunity to create and remodel facilities in Managua, to modernise and make them more accessible.”
In 2016, Nicaragua staged a Youth Talent Camp funded by the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
A total of 218 young promising athletes, swimmers and goalball players, and 48 coaches from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua participated. Many of them will be involved in the 2018 Para Central American Games.
San Jose, Costa Rica, staged the first-ever Para Central American Games from 13-21 April 2013. Athletes from the host country, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama competed.
Nicaragua’s two-time athletics Paralympian and double Parapan American bronze medallist Gabriel Cuadra Holmann provided one of the best performances, winning three golds in the men’s 200m, 400m and 800m T36.