Ambitions For Centam, Caribbean Sport

(ATR) The IOC member in Dominican Republic says he wants to lead the region for sport.

(ATR) Luis Mejía Oviedo says he will run for president of CACSO, the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization.

Mejia, IOC member and president of the Dominican Republic Olympic Committee, tells Around the Rings he is ready to serve the 31-member regional sports organization.

"My Philosophy: Teamwork"

CACSO will hold its General Assembly and election on Oct. 31 in Panama City, host of the 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games.

Long-time CACSO president Steve Stoute has not yet made public if he will seek another four-year term.

Mejía tells ATR increasing "the strength of the Caribbean and Central America" is his mission.

"You have to unite all sectors and work together, that's my purpose," he said.

Mejia says he advocates for CACSO to come up with "a consensus nomination" for the presidency.

"I am of the spirit of working together, in the same direction," he says.

If elected, Mejía says he wants to examine the regional games and recognizes the need to increase the quality of the participants.

"You have to whet your appetite for the Games," he said. "Everything is revisable."

If elected, Mejia would become the seventh president of CACSO and the second Dominican to lead it after Dr. José Joaquín Puello Herrera did so between 1986 and 2003.

Technological Advances Mark The Games

Mejía was the right arm of Puello in the organization of the 2003 Pan American Games Santo Domingo. The Dominican Republic was the third country in the Caribbean to host the Games after 1979 in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Havana in 1991.

When asked for a comparison with Lima 2019, Mejia noted that technological developments of the last 16 years make it hard to compare.

"The technology has advanced so much that it allows you to change the parameters and the mechanisms of handling the Games," he says.

"Today in Lima you already have a technology that allows you to control the Olympic Village, access to venues. Technological advances make one edition different from the other."

Mejia praised the organizers and Panam Sports for having crystallized "successful Games" in Lima despite the various difficulties that go along with being a Pan Am host city.

Organizers in Lima remain busy through Sept. 1 with the Para Pan American Games.

AIBA Crisis, Point Of Attention

Mejia is paying close attention to crisis that has shaken the foundations of AIBA, the International Boxing Association.

Of the seven Olympic medals won by the Dominican Republic, two, one gold and one bronze, belong to boxing.

Mejia tells ATR he is following closely the developments in AIBA and the IOC sanctions that exclude the federation, but not the sport, from the Tokyo Olympic tournament.

"This time I want to reserve my opinions because it is an issue that is being handled within the IOC," he added.

"I have full confidence that the IOC Task Force will work," he said.

Mejia has been an IOC member since 2017.

Pan Am Success for DR

Mejia notes that the results for Dominican Republic in Lima is a cause for national celebration.

"The work was excellent," says Mejia.

Dominican Republic finished in tenth place in the Pan Am medal table with the best ever tally away from home: 40 medals with 10 gold thanks especially to their athletes in combat sports. DR athletes picked up 13 silver and 17 bronze medals in Lima.

In 2003, when Santo Domingo organized the Pan American Games, the Dominican delegation finished ninth in medals with 41 in all, most ever for DR at the Pan Ams.

With a view to the Tokyo Olympic Games, Mejia will lead an analysis with the DR NOC in the first week of September. He says the group will review all sports federations and their results.

Homepage photo: Colimdo

Reported by Miguel Hernandez.