SportAccord Pan America Opens in Ft. Lauderdale

(ATR) The Lima Pan American Games, esports and the Russian doping scandal, all on day one … Ed Hula reports from Florida.

(ATR) Sports leaders from the Americas head to South Florida for the first regional edition of SportAccord.

More than 400 delegates are registered for Sport Accord Pan America taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The three day meeting is the first offshoot of SportAccord, the giant annual convention for international sports federations that began 16 years ago.

Participants include sports federation leaders from the region as well as representatives from National Olympic Committees in the Americas. Like the original SportAccord, the convention includes an exhibition area for cities seeking sports events to host and demonstrations of sports seeking wider recognition such as teqball and lacrosse.

Pan Am Sports secretary general Ivar Sisniega delivered a presentation on the Lima Pan Am Games held in July. He expressed satisfaction over the staging of the games, the biggest ever since the first edition in 1951.

Calling the PanAms "the Olympics of the Americas", Sisniega says the event’s objective is to deliver excellence from the athletes of the Americas. Sisniega also said that the new Junior Pan American Games are meant to further the development of sport excellence, providing a missing bridge for athletes making the transition from youth level competition. The new games are set to debut in Cali, Colombia, in 2021.

PanAm Sports marketing director Alexandra Orlando told delegates that social networking during the games generated seven million visits to the Lima 2019 and Pan Am Sports websites.

On Thursday, IOC member and PanAm Sports president Neven Ilic will give his perspective on sport in the Americas.

Other IOC members at SportAccord Pan America include Camilo Perez of Paraguay, Tricia Smith from Canada and Luisin Mejia of Dominican Republic.

SportAccord president Raffaele Chiulli tells Around the Rings he is delighted with the response to this initialregional convention. He says other cities have been in contact to express their interest in hosting subsequent editions. He says regional SportAccords are a possibility for Africa and Asia.

Looking ahead to SportAccord 2020 next April in Beijing, Chiulli says it will be the biggest ever for the annual convention. It will be the second time it is held in China. More than 7,000 delegates are expected for the meeting, he says.

Chiulli notes that the recently announced choice of Eketarinburg, Russia, as the host for the 2021 edition of SportAccord should not be affected by proposed sanctions against Russia handed down last week by theWorld Anti-Doping Agency. Those sanctions, if upheld, would prohibit WADA signatories -- such as the international federations that own SportAccord -- from staging major events in Russia for a four-year period. Chiulli says SportAccord is a convention, not a sports competition and should not be subject to the ban.

Cristobal Marti, president of NORCECA, the volleyball confederation for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, tells ATR he is concerned about the impact of the WADA ban on the 2022 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championships that are scheduled for Eketarinburg. He says the international federation is waiting until the Court of Arbitration for Sport makes a ruling in 2020 on the appeal expected to be filed soon.

The phenomenon of esports was handled by Vlad Marinescu, vice president of the board of the international esports federation. While observing the growth and evolution of esports over the past few decades, he did not indicate any immediate action about esports joining the Olympics.

A panel discussion that followed included experts in sport from the United States, Puerto Rico and Europe. All of them acknowledged the impact and widespread popularity of esports among young people. At the same time, they said attention needs to be paid to ethical treatment of competitors and a balance between esports and traditional sport involving physical activity.

Reported in Ft. Lauderdale by Ed Hula.