Athletics and boccia are two of the 12 sports featured in the programme of the fourth Youth Parapan American Games, set to start on 20 March and to run until 25 March in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The athletics events will be held on the outdoor athletics track at the Brazilian Paralympic Centre. The venue adheres to international standards and has been certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Athletes will warm up on the indoor track located underneath the competition track. The grandstands can accommodate up to 868 spectators.
It will be the biggest sport in the programme and will feature 14-19 year old athletes from around 15 countries.
A track and field athlete to look out for will be Colombia’s Luis Lucumi, who has shown rapidly improving form since his international debut last year. The 19-year-old won silver in the men’s javelin throw F38 and qualified for the final of the 100m T38 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
At the latest edition of the Youth Parapans in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2013, Brazil led the sport’s medals table with 61 medals, including 38 golds. Argentina won 84 medals in total but fewer titles (32). Mexico completed the podium with 26 golds.
Boccia matches will take place in the same arena as the wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball events at the Brazilian Paralympic Centre.
On occasion the venue also plays host to wheelchair rugby training sessions. For Sao Paulo 2017, the courts have been repurposed to host the boccia tournament, due to it being a spacious and air-conditioned venue.
There are also grandstands to accommodate 182 spectators. Around 10 countries are expected to send boccia players, aged 13-19 years old.
Argentina will present a strong team made up of seven athletes, led by national coach Pablo Iocca, hoping to reach the podium after leaving Buenos Aires 2013 without a medal.
Brazil finished as the most decorated nation in boccia at Buenos Aires 2013, winning two golds, two silvers and two bronzes. They were followed by Mexico, who sealed two golds and one silver, and Venezuela, who claimed one silver.
Around 1,000 athletes, aged 12-20 years old, from 20 countries are expected to participate in Sao Paulo, with 12 sports being contested: athletics, boccia, football 5, football 7, goalball, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.
Buenos Aires 2013 attracted 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.
For more information, visit Sao Paulo 2017’s website.