Lima gears up for Pan American Games

While all eyes may be on the CARIFTA Games in Grand Cayman this weekend, the Pan American Games are on the horizon.

Organisers in Lima, Peru, this week held an event to mark the 100-day countdown to the July 26 to Aug. 11 games.

So far, just one Cayman athlete, gymnast Raegan Rutty, has qualified for the Lima games. She earned her spot at the games when she competed in the Senior Pan American Gymnastics Championships in Peru in October last year.

Performances at this weekend’s CARIFTA Games and next weekend’s NORCECA volleyball will determine which other athletes will represent Cayman at the Pan Am Games, as those two events will also act as qualifiers for Lima. Cayman swimmers competing in the CARIFTA Aquatics events in Barbados this month will also find out if their times qualify them for the Pan Am Games, according to Cayman’s Olympic Committee.

In the meantime, Lima is putting the final touches on its preparations for the Pan American Games, which are expected to bring more than 7,000 athletes, 4,000 officials and 150,000 tourists to the Peruvian capital.

So far, gymnast Raegan Rutty is the only Cayman athlete to have qualified for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. Performances at this weekend’s CARIFTA Games in Grand Cayman will determine which track and field athletes from Cayman will qualify for those games.

Official song unveiled

At Tuesday’s ceremony, the official song of the 18th Pan American Games, written by Peruvian singer Pedro Suarez-Vertiz, was unveiled at a ceremony at the Domes of San Miguel in the Costa Verde region of the Peruvian capital.

The ‘Serenade to 100 Days to Go to Lima 2019’ event, a night of music, dance and sport, made the city come to life. More than 1,000 people watched sports demonstrations by the Lima 2019 athlete ambassadors, artistic performances and, as the main event of the evening, a concert by Pedro Suarez-Vertiz and his band performing the official song, ‘Let’s All Play!’.

“It’s a song with heart, a song with energy, that invites us all to play and to get excited. This is the first time in our history that Peru is organising an event of such magnitude: the most important multi-sport event in the entire continent. And what better way than to receive all of the athletes than with a song of Peruvian rhythms, using instruments unique to our culture and talking about the friendship between our brother countries,” said Suarez-Vertiz in a press release.

Organisers said in the release that infrastructure for games in Lima is more than 90% complete, and “all that remains is ironing out the operational details, which is no minor task”.

“The 100-day milestone is an important moment for every event in the Olympic cycle. Now we have entered the final stretch,” said Panam Sports President Neven Ilic. “The sport venues are nearly ready, many great athletes have already qualified, but at the same time there is much work left to do in these final three months before we can begin this festival of sport. We call on all of Americas’ athletes to continue their preparation for this great sporting event and for the public to stay tuned.

Ticket sales for Lima 2019 begin on May 27.

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