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Panama Renounces 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games

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Panama Renounces 2022 Games

(ATR) Panamanian authorities confirm that the country will no longer be hosting the 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games.


Parita was recently named the mascot for Panama 2022. (Panama 2022)

With just over four million inhabitants, Panama has become the Central American country with the highest number of infections (56,817) and deaths (1,209) from coronavirus.

But two weeks ago, the organizers of the multi-sport event, in the midst of the health crisis, insisted on continuing with the event and only wanted a change of date, a request the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization (CACSO or in Spanish, ODECABE) was willing to accept.

On Friday, CACSO expressed its surprise when learning from the Panamanian press that the country would rescind its commitment to organize the 2022 Games.

In a statement CACSO assured that it will seek solutions to be able to carry out the event at an alternative venue.

Luis Mejía, president of CACSO, reported that last week he received a letter from Eduardo Cerda, General Director of the Panamanian Institute of Sports, confirming Panama's commitment to organize the games.


Luis Mejía, president of CACSO and an IOC member (ATR)

Mejía described as “irresponsible” the handling of the matter by the authorities.

He says that to decline the Games "must be done formally" and not by statements in the media.

"For ODECABE, health comes first, and we have always been in contact with the Organizing Committee to find ways to solve the games and allow Panama to guarantee the health of its population," said Mejía.

"But I am surprised and disappointed that the authorities did not have the professionalism to even coordinate such important information with our organization." 

The official reported that the organization will continue for the 2022 games and the CACSO Executive Committee "will meet this Saturday [July] 25 to discuss the issue and begin to look for solutions and alternatives".

"In crisis leaders rise up," Mejía told Around the Rings.

Mejía recalled that just a few days ago he received a letter from the Panamanians where they pledged to guarantee the Games.

"We had plans for austere Games in line with reality, streamlining the sports program," he added.

"There will be Games in 2022," Mejía insisted, in addition to stressing that CACSO's main priority is the health and safety of athletes.

For Mejía, who is an IOC member, the 2022 Games will be the first under his presidency, which he assumed last October.

Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez



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