“We have with us world and Paralympic champions. We expect to have great competitions and we know that countries like Brazil, Argentina and Mexico are quite strong in several sports, but everyone here has come to give their best effort.”
The Athletes’ Village at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico was a sea of colour on Wednesday (9 November) as it played host to welcoming ceremonies for USA, Brazil and Canada.
First into Flags Square in the village was Team USA who was represented by US General Consul in Guadalajara Daniel Keller and Team USA Chef de Mission Joseph Walsh.
“We are honored to welcome you to the city of Guadalajara, the cultural capital of Mexico and the host of this continuation of America’s Fiesta,” expressed Village Mayor Nick Van Der Kaaij, who also wished the best of luck to the American athletes.
The United States delegation is made up of 300 people, out of which 175 are high-performance athletes.
“We have with us world and Paralympic champions. We expect to have great competitions and we know that countries like Brazil, Argentina and Mexico are quite strong in several sports, but everyone here has come to give their best effort,” stressed Joseph Walsh at the end of ceremony.
The sound of the Star Spangled Banner in the village was soon replaced by the samba as the 222 strong Brazilian delegation arrived for the second ceremony. Bold in colour due to their bright yellow tracksuits, Brazil also boldly stated that it was in Guadalajara not just to compete, but to top the medals table just like it had four years ago in Rio.
After speeches from Brazil Chef de Mission Edilson Alves Da Rocha, and National Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons, Cadets from the Air College raised Brazil´s flag as the national anthem was played under a very bright sun.
The final welcoming ceremony of the day involved 121 vocal athletes chanting “Go, Canada Go!” Led by Wheelchair Basketball David Durepos, who moments earlier had been announced as flag bearer for Saturday’s Opening Ceremony, the Canadian athletes got into the mood by wearing charro (Mexican cowboy) hats.
Canada Chef de Mission Robert Needham said: “We are very excited for these Games, mainly for two reasons: the first one, that these Games are a qualifying event for London 2012, and the second reason is that we have here very young athletes and we hope that they get the experience for the upcoming Toronto 2015 Games.”
The 2011 Parapan American Games which take place between 12-20 November will feature 1,500 athletes from 23 countries taking part in 13 sports.