Mexico’s drug war casting shadow on Pan Am Games-Part II
The 16th Pan Am Games Guadalajara 2011 is under a bit of a cloud because of the drug war that rages in Mexico. Given the track record of Mexico in hosting international events though, it is very likely that there will be all-out efforts to ensure that the games are one of the best ever.
Team Bahamas has a special connection to Guadalajara. In 1968 during the pre-Olympic Games events, Guadalajara was the center of cultural activities. The cultural group from The Bahamas, led by John’Chippie’Chipman captivated the city of Guadalajara.
We did not win a medal at the 1968 Games and the performance of our cultural group in Guadalajara was actually the high point of the Bahamian representation in Mexico.
Here we are, 43 years later and Guadalajara is the spot once again. This time around, Bahamian athletes like high jumper Donald Thomas, swimmer Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, quarter-milers Chris Brown(the 2007 400 meters Pan Am Champion)and Demetrius Pinder are gold medal favorites.
According to Carlos Andrade Garin, the General Director of the Guadalajara Organizing Committee, the experience will be quite special for all who attend.
“The mission of the 16th Pan American Games Organizing Committee is to celebrate an event with the best technical and organizational conditions so that athletes, technical delegates, leaders, the media and another guests may perform their respective duties without any obstacles.
“Our city is looking forward to welcoming the athletes from the Americas as well as every participant who will help make this sports celebration an unforgettable experience for our city and for the sub-sites where these Pan American Games will surely leave a legacy,”said Garin in his message, printed and published in the games manual.
Mexico’s storied background in hosting major sporting events of course is cemented by the 1968 Olympics, one of the greatest ever. The other hosted sports affairs of note include the 1970 and 1986 soccer World Cups; and the 1975 Pan American Games.
Also, Mexico hosted the first Ibero-American Summit in 1991 and the Latin American and Caribbean-European Union Summit in 2004.
Guadalajara is the capital city in the Western State of Jalisco. There is a population of 1,600,940. Guadalajara is a combination of old historic buildings and modern influences. All members of Team Bahamas should have a memorable time in October.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected])