Lima 2019 went down as the best Parapan American Games ever. With more athletes, sports, media and fans than ever before, it has left a fantastic legacy for Para sports and people with disabilities in Peru and the Americas.
The massive success of Lima 2019 enters at No. 2 in the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC’s) Top 10 Moments of 2019.
More than 1,800 athletes took part in the 10-day multi-sport event which attracted 170,000 fans to the venues and ceremonies – almost twice the number of ticket holders from the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) President Julio Cesar Avila said: “It was highly pleasant to see how an entire city embraced this competition and turned out massively to each of the venues to support the best Para athletes in the Americas.
“I firmly believe Lima 2019 will be a turning point in the history of the Paralympic Movement in the continent, with more people, more media and more sponsors getting involved.”
The President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Andrew Parsons also attended the event and praised the organisation.
“The Parapan American Games will be divided between before and after Lima 2019. These Games have been a huge success in all areas,” said Parsons.
“The work of COPAL (Lima 2019 Organising Committee) and the atmosphere created by the Peruvian fans have taken these Games to another level. They will leave an important legacy to Lima and the country in terms of accessibility and the perception towards people with disabilities.”
In Para swimming, Brazilian star Daniel Dias took his Parapan medals tally to 33 golds, while Colombian 12-year-old Sara Vargas – the youngest athlete at Lima 2019 – won four golds and one silver on her debut.
In Para athletics, Cuban sprinter Omara Durand took three golds and left her handprints right next to those of Jamaica’s Olympic legend Usain Bolt at the main entrance of the Estadio Atletico.
The Lima Lawn Tennis Club, a venue built in 1884 and made accessible for the Parapan American Games, saw Argentina’s World No. 1 player Gustavo Fernandez win both the men’s singles and doubles gold medals.
Para badminton, Para taekwondo and Shooting Para sport also made its Parapan debut in Lima.
It was in badminton and taekwondo that Peru performed best, winning three of their five gold medals.
One of them, from badminton player Pedro Pablo de Vinatea in the men’s singles SL3, came in front of a sold-out crowd which included Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra.
Brazil finished first in the medals table, breaking the 300-medal mark for the first time. The 308 medals (124 golds, 99 silvers and 85 bronze) is 51 more than they won at Toronto 2015.
The USA took second place with 185 (58 golds, 62 silvers and 65 bronze) followed by Mexico with 158 (55 golds, 58 silvers and 45 bronze). Hosts Peru finished 10th with their best Parapans result: five golds, three silvers and seven bronze (15 in total).
Chile, hosts of the next Parapan American Games in Santiago in 2023, also achieved their best result with 34 medals (13 golds, 10 silvers and 16 bronze).
Countries like Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Guatemala enjoyed historic results in Lima with Salvadoran powerlifter Herbert Aceituno giving his country their first gold in 20 years.