Race for PASO Presidency Now Open

(ATR) Election to be held in April following approval of new Pan American constitution.

(ATR) The Pan American Sports Organization approved its new constitution Thursday paving the way for its next president to be elected.

The presidential election will take place on April 28 in Montevideo, Uruguay at PASO’s next General Assembly. Although the new constitution only stipulates a maximum of 90 days for presidential candidates to be able to campaign before an election, PASO is waiting until April so that IOC president Thomas Bach may attend the assembly.

Rio 2016 and Brazilian National Olympic Committee president Carlos Nuzman stressed the importance of having the IOC president at the meeting before declaring his candidacy for PASO’s top job. The decision was widely expected but Nuzman kept mum until after his final Rio 2016 presentation on the final day of the ANOC General Assembly in Doha, Qatar.

Nuzman tells Around the Rings PASO needs someone with experience to be the new leader of the organization.

"My contribution with my experience as an athlete and as an official who organized the Pan American Games and Olympic Games is something PASO needs at this time, a stronger president," he says. "What we need is to get the Pan American Games stronger as they were in the past."

Nuzman is the fifth candidate to declare his candidacy along with Neven Ilic of Chile, Richard Peterkin of St. Lucia, Keith Joseph of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jose Puello of the Dominican Republic. The three Caribbean candidates of Peterkin, Joseph and Puello say they have a "gentleman’s agreement" that only one will be on the final ballot representing the Caribbean countries.

The next PASO president will oversee the final preparations and staging of the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. The PASO Coordination and Technical Commissions for the next edition of the games provided reports about their recent visit to Peru and expressed concerns about infrastructure progress.

"The critical issue is time," said coordination commission chair Keith Joseph. "Although 2019 seems a long way off, there is a lot of infrastructure work that needs to be completed so we don’t have much time. We have concern about the pace of the work; we do not feel comfortable at this juncture."

While the commissions acknowledged the need to pick up the pace of operations, they are not hitting the panic button quite yet.

"We are assured they can meet all of the deadlines," said technical commission chair Michael Fennel. "It’s going to be close but their construction industry is very well qualified to deliver work in a timely manner. However, PASO must still ensure we monitor this situation carefully."

PASO approved the sports program for Lima 2019, bringing the total number of sports to 39 with the addition of bodybuilding. The organization also passed the athlete quota for the games at 6,700, an increase by more than 500 from the Toronto Pan Ams.

PASO vice president Ivar Sisniega provided an update from the new events commission that proposed three events for PASO, including the Pan American Youth Games, Pan American Sports Festival and Pan American Beach Games.

These new events will seek to improve sports development throughout the Americas with the youth games the priority. PASO believes the new events will increase revenue for the organization and the NOCs at a low operating cost.

Sisniega also announced that PASO will be launching a competition to design a new logo, another effort to modernize the organization and bring it more in line with Olympic Agenda 2020.

The logo contest will begin soon along with the race to host the 2023 Pan American Games. Sisniega tells ATR the deadline for cities to express interest in hosting the 2023 Pan Ams is Jan. 31, 2017.

The bidding process and the interested cities will be discussed at the next general assembly taking place from April 25-28 in Uruguay.

Written by Kevin Nutley in Doha, Qatar.

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