Athletes will feel home atmosphere at LIMA 2019 Games

"VAN" (LIMA 2019 - Sports Desk) :: The latest Panam Sports Coordination Commission visit to Lima, Peru has leaders of Americas' Olympic Movement more confident than ever that athletes will feel comfortable throughout the Lima 2019 Pan American Games this July and August.

“For us, the important thing is that the athletes feel comfortable, that we make them feel welcome. And I think this is going to be their home during the Pan American Games. I think that athletes from all countries will feel very much at home here in this Village. We are very happy,” Panam Sports and IOC Executive Member Nicole Hoevertsz told Panam Sports while touring the Pan American Village.

“This is the most important thing for an athlete when you’re at Games. You want to feel at home, you want to feel comfortable and you want to feel part of a big world of athletes where everyone from the whole continent will be together,” Hoevertsz added.

And that home is starting to take its final form. With a little more than four months until the Games begin, the seven towers of the Pan American Village are completed and work is already underway outfitting each room with the essential items for the athletes.

The early stages of landscaping have also begun, signaling the rapid progress that has been made on this project since its inception in September 2017.

“The progress of the construction is quite encouraging. We got here this morning and they are already working on the grass and finishing the outside of the building. The buildings themselves are done and the stress tests of the buildings will be done shortly so this is really good. We will get in those buildings and they will be functional and in good quality. By the time we get here in July for the Games, everything will be fantastic,” said Eric Myles, Chief of Sport of the Canadian Olympic Committee and Member of the Panam Sports Technical Commission.

But the Athlete Village is not the only venue that has progressed by leaps and bounds as the Peruvian capital prepares to welcome the best athletes of the Americas for a month of thrilling competition in July and August.

The Panam Sports Coordination and Technical Commissions also visited the Villa Maria del Triunfo and VIDENA sports complexes that will each host multiple sports during the Pan American and Parapan American Games.

At each of these primary venues for the Games, the quality of work being done is clearly visible. The primary focuses of each venue - the Fields of Play - have already been established for the majority of the sports, with final touches including the seating, surroundings and amenities of the venues now beginning to take shape.

“Wow. That is the only phrase I think is deserving. I think other Members of the Commission who have not been here in a while would not believe the transformation in terms of the completion of work. First off, starting with the Village: when it started in the latter part of 2017, many people said ‘no it’s not going to happen, they won’t be able to complete it in time’. But on these visits we’ve seen the progress,” said Keith Joseph, Chairman of the Lima 2019 Coordination Commission and Secretary General of the Saint Vincent and Grenadines Olympic Committee.

“We were here in January, and now less than three months later, you are amazed that when you get into the area, you feel that it’s almost ready for habitation. Certainly, if this is going to be the home for the athletes, I can already see them feeling satisfied. And this gives us an opportunity to focus on what we’re here for,” Joseph concluded.

The sport leaders of the Americas weren’t the only ones who were impressed with the progress seen at the venues. Panam Sports Legend and Colombia’s first Olympic medalist in Athletics at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, Ximena Restrepo, told Panam Sports that she thinks athletes will have the best conditions to compete at Lima 2019, especially at the Athletics Stadium in the VIDENA complex.

“This is the first time I’ve come to see the Athletics Stadium, but it seems very beautiful and marvelous. I am very satisfied. I have liked everything that I’ve seen. I think that everything is going at a good pace, but we have to keep working hard. But the facilities themselves are very advanced,” Restrepo said.

After the venue inspections, the Coordination Commission met on March 6 to review the remaining concerns and points of emphasis that will be essential to hosting successful Games. This will be the last meeting of the Coordination Commission in the Peruvian capital until right before the Games begin in July.

The Lima 2019 Pan American Games will begin with the Opening Ceremony on July 26 and will finish with the Closing Ceremony on August 11.

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