"If we compare this edition with Buenos Aires 2013, Bogotá 2009 and Baquisímeto 2005 we will notice the evolution of the younger athletes"
More than 800 athletes aged 13 to 20 from 19 countries competed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the biggest edition of the Youth Parapan American Games. Wrapping up on 25 March, the competition was a move in the right direction in developing Para sport in the Americas, a legacy of the Rio 2016 Games.
"I am sure that this magnificent stage, the greatest legacy of the Paralympic Games, will be a great inspiration for these athletes, who will do their best to obtain results," said Jose Luis Campo, President of the Americas Paralympic Committee.
Andrew Parsons, President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB) and the Organising Committee, said: "The level has increased a lot. If we compare this edition with Buenos Aires 2013, Bogotá 2009 and Baquisímeto 2005 we will notice the evolution of the younger athletes. Here we see athletes reaching potential for bigger competitions. So that shows the quality of the youthful athletes we have here in the Americas.”
Director of Sao Paulo 2017 Edilson Rocha said: "If we look at the 2013 Games, we will see athletes who won medals at the Rio Games in 2016. So some of those who won a medal here in Sao Paulo will certainly be in Lima 2019 [Parapan American Games] and also in Tokyo 2020 [Paralympic Games].
Proximity of countries and mutual development
Another positive aspect of the Youth Parapans Sao Paulo 2017 was close proximity of the National Paralympic Committees. This helped strengthen the entire region through exchanges of experiences between athletes, officials, referees, coaches and all those with some relation to the sport, according to Parsons:
"We took the opportunity to strengthen ties with other National Paralympic Committees. And we have made other countries bond with each other as well.”
The Parapan American Youth Games are held every four years, with Sao Paulo being the fourth edition.
More information can be found on Sao Paulo 2017’s website.