“We are proud to be the host of the Games. This light illuminates us all and gives us the possibility of a more inclusive, more humane and just society."
The ‘Flame of Inclusion’ Torch Relay for the 2011 Parapan American Games was lit on Friday afternoon just over 24 hours ahead of the Opening Ceremony in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Prior to the torch lighting at Cerro de la Reyna (Queen’s Mountain) in Tonala, a minute’s silence was held following the tragic death of Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior Jose Franciso Blake More and seven others in a plane crash earlier in the day.
The President of the Organizing Committee for the Parapan Games, Imelda Guzman de Leon, spoke of her delight at the lighting of the torch.
“We are proud to be the host of the Games. This light illuminates us all and gives us the possibility of a more inclusive, more humane and just society.
“The fire also represents the will of the athletes,” Guzman said.
The President of the Americas Paralympic Committee, Octavio Londoño, said the Paralympic spirit was lit with the flame that represents will and strength to continue growing in fair play.
"Guadalajara 2011 is a good example of determination with the participation of more than 1,500 athletes with life stories not to give up or retreat," he said.
The first torch bearer on the torch’s 28km journey from Cerro de la Reyna was para-athlete David Valdez and along the way athletes from Uruguay, Chile and Domincan Republic will carry the torch.
In total 112 torch bearers will take it through the streets of Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara and Zapopan before it reaches the Telmex Athletics Stadium, the venue of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday night.
All torch bearers for the relay were selected by the participating municipal governments. It will start its journey on Saturday morning the Cabañas Cultural Institute before making its way to the Telmex Stadium
Around 1,500 athletes from 23 countries will participate in 13 sport events at the 2011 Parapan American Games which will last through until 20 November.