“The Youth Parapans are a great opportunity for all young athletes who are just starting their career. Many future Paralympic stars from the Americas make their first steps in sports at this event."
We're counting down the best 20 moments from the history of the Americas Paralympic Committee, as we approach their 20th anniversary on 1 August. Coming in at No.19 is a record-breaking event for youth Para sport.
Wrapping up on 25 March, the Sao Paulo 2017 Youth Parapan American Games followed on from the success of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the first to be held in Latin America, with more than 800 athletes aged 13-20 from 19 countries competing across 12 sports.
The Brazilian Paralympic Centre, a major structural legacy from Rio 2016, staged athletics, boccia, football 5, football 7, goalball, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball. Wheelchair tennis was contested at the Club Esperia.
With 66 golds, 41 silvers and 32 bronze, hosts Brazil finished top of the medals table, followed by Colombia, Mexico and Argentina.
Mona, the Spanish word for a female monkey, was the chosen name for the Sao Paulo 2017 mascot, a female red howler monkey, in a poll conducted on the CPB’s page. The winning-name received 3,053 votes.
Brazilian table tennis player Danielle Rauen, gold medallist at both Buenos Aires 2013 and Sao Paulo 2017, said: “The Youth Parapans are really important in terms of developing young talent throughout the Paralympic Movement.
“After competing in Argentina four years ago, I was called up to the senior national team for the first time. Winning gold in Sao Paulo fuelled me ahead the World Team Championships, where we took Brazil’s first world title in the sport.”
Children from more than 50 schools visited the Brazilian Paralympic Centre during the Youth Parapans, with many of the students watching Para sports for the first time.
Colombian six-time swimming Sao Paulo 2017 gold medallist Maria Paula Barrera said: “This event was a unique and exciting experience. It was such a friendly atmosphere with youngsters from different countries sharing the same passion for sports.
“The Youth Parapans are a great opportunity for all young athletes who are just starting their career. Many future Paralympic stars from the Americas make their first steps in sports at this event.
“Sao Paulo 2017 helped me improve as an athlete and motivated me to continue fighting for my dreams. It was the beginning of the road towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”
Americas Paralympic Committee President Jose Luis Campo added: “Together, the contributions of every single person involved in this event have ensured it will go down in history as the best ever.”
The last edition of the Youth Parapan Ams was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in October 2013, attracting more than 600 athletes from 16 countries, who competed across 10 sports. Brazil topped the medal table and 15 countries reached the podium at least once.
Barquisimeto, Venezuela, staged the inaugural edition in 2005, with athletes from 10 countries competing, whilst a total of 14 countries attended the event in Bogota, Colombia, in 2009.