South American Paralympics Cancelled

(ATR) Organizers can’t find a host for the event in October.

(ATR) Plans to hold a second edition of the South American Paralympics this October have collapsed.

Buenos Aires announced late last year it could not host the event after initially agreeing to take over from Cochabamba, Bolivia, where it would have been held along with the South American Games set for May. Such was the case four years ago when Santiago, Chile hosted the South American Games as well as the first edition of the South American Paralympics.

But the lack of a Paralympic committee in Bolivia made it impossible for Cochabamba to win approval for government support. Since then, no other city has stepped forward to take over.

The Paralympic Committee of the Americas said it tried to convince Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Chile but none could handle the financial obligation.

Interim APC president Eduardo Montenegro tells Around the Rings that the cancellation of the event is an "unpleasant surprise".

The South American Paralympics were to serve as the qualification event for athletes going to the 2019 Parapans in Lima.

Montenegro says alternative qualification will be used. He says all sports, with the exception of rugby and basketball, have arranged qualifying events.

Montenegro, a former official of the Cuban Sports Institute based in Colombia, took office temporarily after the death of Argentinean José Luis Campo last October.

After the Bolivian city dropped out, Buenos Aires committed to save the South American Paras "with minimal expenses". Buenos Aires planned to use facilities from the Youth Olympic Games held just weeks before.

According to Montenegro, all the coordination was carried out with the relevant authorities. But budget cuts decreed by the government of Mauricio Macri "gave the last blow" to the hope of organizing the games in Argentina.

It was thought that Colombia could use the same facilties to be used for the Central American and Caribbean Games this summer in Barranquilla. Brazil has an extraordinary Paralimpico National Center of Sao Paulo, among the best in the world. Chile might have used the infrastructure from the initial Para South American Games in 2014.

In each case, finance was the issue preventing those locations from agreeing to host the Paralympic event.

Montenegro says steps are being taken to avoid the same problem in 2022 when Asunción, Paraguay will host the 2022 South American Games. Montenegro says he met a few days ago with Camilo Pérez López Moreira, the president of ODESUR, the South American Sports Organization and the Paraguayan Olympic Committee. The Paralympics event could be included in the Paraguay South American Games.

Reported by Miguel Hernandez.