With full stadiums, Peru successfully completes its first Pan American Games

The 2019 Pan American Games in Lima put this Sunday to an endpoint after nineteen uninterrupted days of sports in which the biggest sporting event in America, whose viability two years before was uncertain, became a success thanks to the response of the public, who responded massively.

Flag bearers of the delegations participate in the closing ceremony of the Pan American Games 2019

Standard bearers of the delegations participate in the closing ceremony of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima (Peru). EFE / Christian Ugarte

EFE | Fernando Gimeno

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Leer en español: Con estadios llenos, Perú culmina con éxito sus primeros Juegos Panamericanos

They were the largest Pan American in history, with 61 disciplines of 39 sports, which brought together almost 7,000 athletes from 41 countries in the Peruvian capital, which in total distributed more than 1,300 medals.

The first Pan-Americans organized in Peru made the local public interested in sports for the first time, unknown to Peruvians, who practically only consume men's football and, to a lesser extent, women's volleyball.

Thus, whether out of curiosity or revelation, it was unheard of in Peru that stadiums and coliseums were filled to watch softball, mountain and track cycling, wrestling, squash, handball, rugby at seven or badminton matches. Among the sports rediscovered by the local public is the fronton palette, the only Peruvian discipline, which reported two of the 11 golds won by Peru in these Pan-Americans.

Basketball deserves a special mention, an almost marginal discipline but that the Eduardo Dibós Coliseum filled in the Pan-Americans, until registering no less than 4,000 spectators every day of competition despite the fact that the Peruvian national team had been excluded from the competition for having the federation suspended. Athletics and swimming were no less and every day the 7,000 locations of the stadium of the National Sports Village (Videna) and almost 4,000 of the aquatic center were filled.

The presence of some world stars who raised expectations to see them in Lima also contributed to this. On the athletic track of the Peruvian capital world and Olympic champions appeared the Colombian jumper Caterine Ibargüen and Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas and Jamaican sprinters Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson.

Also, Brazilians Thiago Braz in pole vault and Darlan Romaní in weight throwing, although the American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who was announced in the cartel, finally did not participate.

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In the pool, the spotlights were taken by the American Olympic medalist Nathan Adrian but the great winner was the young Argentine Delfina Pignatiello, who hung three gold medals.

The final medalist did not throw surprises and the United States was the big winner with almost 300 medals, more than 115 gold, followed by Brazil, Canada, and Mexico, the countries of the continent that invest more in sport. Argentina was the great winner of team sports, with golds from their men's teams in football, basketball, handball, rugby, softball, hockey and volleyball; and of its female teams in hockey.

The good response of the public put the icing on an organization that lived up to the demands after the intense time trial that lived in the last two years to have all the venues on time.

With this, the Pan-American of Lima 2019 went from the pessimistic auguries that lost the headquarters of the Games back in 2016 to convince themselves that it could be achieved, achieved and lived as a continental festival to the rhythm of the cumbia "Cariñito", erected as unofficial anthem. There was no day when it didn't ring.

As of this Monday, the second great challenge of these Pan-Americans begins for Peru, which is to germinate the seed to diversify the national sport and thus give greater utility to all the facilities built for the occasion.