Lima 2019: Biggest Parapan Am Games to date kick off
Athletics, badminton, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby to be streamed live on dedicated Lima 2019 website23 Aug 2019
Lima is ready to host the biggest Parapan American Games to date. A total of 1,850 athletes from 33 countries will be in action across 17 sports in the Peruvian capital from Friday 23 August to 1 September.
For the first time, five sports will be streamed live – athletics, badminton, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
Three sports will make their debut in Lima: badminton, shooting and taekwondo.
Brazil topped the medals table in the last edition at Toronto 2015 and has the biggest delegation in Lima with 337 athletes.
“The Lima 2019 Organising Committee has worked hard to create accessible venues and all the facilities to makes us feel at home in this great city. During nine days, Lima, Peru and the whole continent will be amazed by what Para athletes can do,” said Julio Cesar Avila, President of the Americas Paralympic Committee.
The Opening Ceremony will take place at the Estadio Nacional with 500 artists and volunteers – 55 with disabilities – showing the rich and ancient history of Peru.
The creative concept has been developed by Hansel Cereza, the man behind the iconic Opening Ceremony of the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.
“Para athletes have made me more compassionate and changed my mindset. The final goal is to change people’s mindset with a show that treats everyone as equals,” Cereza said.
The competition already kicked off on Thursday with the first table tennis matches taking place at the VIDENA Sports Complex.
Friday also marks the first day of the wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball tournaments.
Toronto 2015 saw 10 world records broken. Lima will not be short of talent to beat that mark.
Athletics will see in action names such as five-time Paralympic champion Omara Durand of Cuba while 14-Paralympic champion Daniel Dias of Brazil is the number one star in the swimming pool.
Dias has won 27 medals at Parapan American Games, all of them gold.
“The swimming pool looks amazing and it is always great to feel the energy from the volunteers when you arrive at the Athletes’ Village. I am looking forward to a great event,” said the Brazilian swimmer.
Other reigning Paralympic gold medallists in Peru are the USA’s men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams, Brazil’s blind football team and USA’s women’s sitting volleyball team.
The 2019 Parapan American Games will also offer pathways to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in 12 sports.
The top two teams in wheelchair basketball qualify to Tokyo and that is what USA’s captain and two-time Paralympic champion Natalie Schneider is aiming for.
“It’s really important we take care of our business in Lima and play our game and do the best we can because we fully intend to be in Tokyo,” Schneider said.