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by Claudio Bluck

The I Junior Pan American Games change date

There are several news related to the I Junior Pan American Games to be held in Cali-Valle, Colombia. The first of these was the change of dates agreed by Panam Sports and the government and sports authorities of Colombia.

Undoubtedly, one of the main reasons is the health situation that is hitting the entire continent so strongly as a consequence of the global pandemic triggered by COVID-19 and the different speeds that the vaccination process presents in the continent, which is why which Panam Sports, the Government of Colombia, the Colombian Olympic Committee, the Valle del Cauca Government, the Mayor’s Office of Cali and the Local Organizing Committee, have been monitoring month by month how the situation evolves not only in the country and the host city. of the First Junior Pan American Games, but also in the member countries of the Pan American Sports Organization.

This was evidenced by the president of Panam Sport Neven Ilic, who said “After several months of meetings with the Colombian authorities, we have adopted this measure that we believe is the best option to protect the health of our young athletes. We want to have more time so that both the organizing country and the participating nations can advance in their vaccination processes and thus be able to count on the delegations and the largest number of people inoculated against COVID-19 at the date of the event “.

For his part, the executive director of Cali-Valle 2021, José Luis Echeverry indicated that “the decision we have made is very positive. It will be very beneficial to be able to wait a little longer given the emergency caused by Covid-19 not only in Colombia, but throughout the continent. With this new date, it gives us the possibility of having safer Games for everyone because at the time, we must already have a high vaccination rate in the host country ”.

So, the original date on which the I Junior Pan American Games would be held, September 2021, is modified for the last two-month period of 2021 and will take place between November 25 and December 5.


The scenarios that appear and their consequences

The first thing we must analyze is the current scenario in South and Central America. Closed borders between most countries, limitation of travel and restrictions on internal activities that affect sports practice and that have even forced the suspension of world competitions, as happened already in 2020 and does not seem to change much in 2021; a world situation that has put in check the holding of the suspended Tokyo 2020 Olympics and countless consequences in our daily lives that have forced us to see life differently, to take precautions and care in line with the decisions of the government and health authorities of each of our countries. Without a doubt, it is not the most promising scenario for the development of sports activity.

In this scenario, the first consequence is the failure to hold a qualifying event for the I Pan American Junior, taking into account the technical proposal made to the COSCABAL Council by its General Management. And by not holding a qualifying event, the technical proposal established following the criteria used in 2020, when it was not possible to hold qualifying events, and using the ranking of the last competition of the junior category in both genders.

Thus, in the junior women’s qualifying event held in Goiania, Brazil in 2018, the results placed Brazil in first place, followed by Chile in second and Paraguay in third. These 3 countries have direct access to the games, as long as their National Federations confirm that they will use their option until June 18.

The last men’s junior event was held in 2019 in Palmira, Colombia and the first place was occupied by Argentina, followed by Brazil that placed second and Chile that finished third. As in the female branch, these 3 countries have direct access to the I Junior Pan American Games, also conditional on their formal response to make use of said option until June 18.

And why does the formal response become so relevant within the specified period? The answer is linked to the number of teams participating in the competition. There are 3 representatives from the Confederation of South and Central America and 3 representatives from the North and Caribbean. They are joined by the local team, Colombia, and an eighth place remains to be defined.

This last quota is decided in a playoff between the fourth classified from South and Central America and the fourth classified from North and Caribbean. This repechage is played in two games and in the case of the men’s game, it will be held in a country in the North and Caribbean that has not yet been defined as the respective qualifying tournament has not yet been played or another classification system has been decided. And in the case of the women’s playoff, it will be played in South America.

And which countries can dispute this last place? In the case of the girls, Argentina has the right to have ranked fourth in the tournament held in Goiania. And since the women’s playoff is played in the south, Argentina would be the host, but also conditioned to make their option effective by formally stating their decision until June 18.

In the men’s, Venezuela ranked fourth in the Palmira tournament in 2019, so you must travel to a country not yet determined in North America and the Caribbean, as long as you formally express your willingness to make use of the place until the next 18 of June.

What is the importance of formal responses before the indicated date. Its consequence will be to consider that there is no intention to participate and will advance in the location according to the list of merit according to the classifications already alluded to. In the case of men, Paraguay could advance to the repechage zone, which despite having obtained sixth place would advance because Colombia was in fifth position and because it is local, it is already classified directly. For the female, Uruguay could advance to the repechage zone for having finished in fifth position in Goiania.

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