The biggest Parapan American Games to date will come to an end this Sunday 1 September in Lima, after 11 days of competition for 1,850 athletes from 33 countries.
Among those, over 110 athletes from 21 countries have taken part of activities delivered or funded by the Agitos Foundation on their road to the Games. Several coaches and sport managers from National Paralympic Committees in the Americas have also attended Agitos Foundation workshops, ensuring a legacy for Para sports in the region.
In total, 50 athletes have won 66 medals – 28 gold, 26 silver and 12 bronze. Many of them broke records, achieved personal bests and have taken their countries to unprecedented competition stages.
Rita van Driel, Agitos Foundation Executive Committee Chairperson, said:
“The Agitos Foundation is extremely proud of seeing the impact of its work in the Americas. It’s great to see so many athletes winning medals, achieving great results and most importantly having fun. We are sure the Lima 2019 Games will leave an outstanding legacy for Para sport in the region.”
Beneficiaries include 15-year-old sprinters Julian Acosta Mendez from Colombia and Jesus Castillo from Peru, both beneficiaries of the project En sus marcas, listos… Inclusión, delivered in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru in partnership with the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) and the Colombian Presidential Agency for International Cooperation (APC-Colombia).
Jesus Castillo said:
“I got to know the project from the Agitos Foundation and took part in a course that was very useful, because I learned many things I didn't know before. Para sport has changed a lot my life, it helped me grow as a person and overcome some barriers that I would never think before.”
During the Parapan American Games, the Agitos Foundation and the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) have announced a second edition of the programme, with activities in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Dominican Republic.
Many of the athletes have attended projects funded by the Agitos Foundation Grant Support Programme (GSP), which was launched in 2013 to support Para sport development projects delivered by IPC member organisations.
That’s the case of Mario Sayes (19) and Rebeca Duarte (16), who had their first contact with boccia in 2018, during a GSP-funded project from NPC El Salvador, ‘Boccias sin fronteras’. Sayes reached the semi-finals at the Individual BC2 category.
Their fellow Salvadoran powerlifter Herbert Aceituno, who took part in an Agitos Foundation workshop in 2016, won the first Parapanamerican gold for his country in 20 years, also breaking the Parapanamerican record in the men's up to 65kg category.
“These workshops open doors to athletes to be able to perform and help others. I thank the Agitos Foundation from the bottom of my heart because they have given a lot to sport in El Salvador.”