The XIX Bolivarian Games, which will be held in Valledupar, capital of the Colombian department of Cesar, will be inaugurated on Friday and with them the Olympic cycle of Paris 2024 will begin for 11 American countries and 3,264 athletes who hope to successfully complete this path.
The official calendar of competitions, however, begins this Thursday with the fencing events for women’s saber and men’s foil.
The Bolivarian Sports Organization (Odebo), which organizes its games every four years, will celebrate them this year in Valledupar, although the competitions were scheduled to take place in 2021 but were postponed due to the pandemic and other reasons.
And it is that the Valledupar 2022 Games were originally supposed to take place in 2021 in the Valles del Tuy region, in Venezuela, but in the end they were not carried out due to financial and organizational problems.
In this sense, Odebo made an exception and allowed Colombia to organize the Bolivarians for the second time in a row after hosting them in 2017 in the Caribbean city of Santa Marta.
Thus, Valledupar has had to deal with time as its worst enemy to have the scenarios ready, since the covid-19 pandemic delayed the works.
A month ago, the Attorney General’s Office (Public Ministry) warned of delays in the works of sports venues and said that of the 20 that it visited, eight “are at execution levels that do not exceed 50% of the total the work”.
“Among other spaces, the Villa Bolivariana, the BMX track, the Olympic pool, the gymnastics arena, the baseball stadium, the basketball arena, the combat arena, the softball stadium and the athletics track were inspected. , encountering significant delays in the progress of the works compared to the start date of the games, “the Attorney General’s Office detailed in a statement.
However, in the last month the works have progressed at a good pace and the organizers assure that everything will be ready for the competitions that start this Friday and end on July 5.
Expectations and delegations
The host Colombia, who won the 2017 Games, will seek to revalidate the title won five years ago and will be represented by 635 athletes who will participate in 33 sports and 54 disciplines.
The main card of the locals will be Anthony Zambrano, who will try to start his way to Paris 2024 with the right foot at home, before the public of the region from which he hails.
Another of the large delegations will be that of Venezuela, since that country will take 584 athletes, including the fencer Shia Rodríguez, who arrives at the competitions as the winner of the 2021 National Fencing Championship and with the bronze of the Pan American Championship played at the beginning of this month in Asuncion.
Ecuador, meanwhile, will have veteran weightlifter Alexandra Escobar and boxer Gerlon Congo as flag bearers, leading a delegation of 259 athletes who will represent the country in 26 disciplines, including weightlifter Neisi Dajomes, who last year became in Tokyo in the first woman to be Olympic champion of her country.
Peru, for its part, will try to start the Olympic cycle in style with veteran long-distance runner Gladys Tejada, who will seek to increase her record in Valledupar after having won gold medals in the women’s half marathon in the two previous editions of the Bolivarians, held in 2017 in the Colombian city of Santa Marta, and in the Peruvian city of Trujillo in 2013.
This will be one of the largest delegations from Peru in some Bolivarians, made up of some 600 people, more than 450 of whom will be athletes who will participate in 41 of the 45 sports disciplines.
On the other hand, Paraguay will be led by rowers Alejandra Alonso and Javier Insfran, who are the flag bearers of the delegation of 165 athletes from that country in the Games in which they will try to overcome the mark of 30 medals reached in 2017.
The other countries that will participate in the Games are Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic. (D)