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Thursday, November 24, 2016
PASO Looking to Host Youth Games

A Youth Games conforming with International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans for a more regional format has been highlighted as the most viable multi-sport event for the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) to introduce.

This follows a presentation by a PASO New Events Commission at which a Pan American Beach Games and a Pan American Sports Festival, acting as a qualifier for the Pan American Games, were also considered.

All three ideas were considered "valuable projects" which "should be considered if we have suitable bids and prospective organisers".

They would all strengthen and improve the PASO brand, it is hoped, while also providing new opportunities for athletes.

A Pan American Youth Games was considered the number one objective because it would be "in line with the IOC vision in the near future".

An initial proposal has been made to host a first edition in 2021.

"The main objective of these Games is to have a high competition level with the best athletes represented ensuring a level of excellence within the age group while having a strong cultural and educational component," PASO first vice-president Ivar Sisniega explained during last week's PASO Extraordinary General Assembly in Doha.

"Among the reasons for having Pan American Youth Games are that there are currently no existing multi-sport Games for the youth at a continental level, there are not enough competitions for young athletes, they allow PASO and the NOCs to receive support and resources from the Government, they allow many sports to develop in the continent and this event also projects PASO as caring about the youth."

It comes as discussions continue over the future path of the IOC-organized Youth Olympics, first held in Singapore in 2010.

A Working Group commissioned in March to "review the positioning" of the event put forward five recommendations to August's IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro.

These were: "increase participation and level of competition", "bring the YOG to cities that cannot organize the Olympic Games", "expand the reach and impact of the YOG", "leverage digital platforms to extend the YOG experience" and "enhance the YOG’s role as incubator for innovation".

Buenos Aires is due to host the next summer edition in 2018 while Lausanne will play host to a winter version in 2020.

But delegates at the PASO meeting gave the impression that the longer term objective is to adopt a regional rather than a global format - principally to reduce costs.

Their plans are for a maximum operating budget of $25 million (£20 million/€23.7 million) in an event utilizing many of the same events as on the Pan American Games programme.

It will also aim to compliment a South American Youth Games of which a first edition was held in Lima in Peru in 2013 and a second is planned for Santiago in Chile in 2017.

No final decision over whether to press forward was made in Doha, with it expected to be discussed once again at April's General Assembly in Montevideo.
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