The Santiago Parapan Pan American Games are officially opened. The ceremony that opened the huge event was held on Friday evening (17), at the National Stadium, to honor the pioneers of Chilean Paralympic sports and highlight local culture and the importance of the host country in global astronomy. The competition continues until November 26 with the participation of 1,927 athletes from 33 countries.
The ceremony began at 8:45 pm, with the flag of the host country carried by Chilean swimmer Valentina Muñoz, who won the gold medal in Parapan de Lima, Peru in 2019. After the national anthem of the host country was played, the participating delegations proceeded in alphabetical order. The system – with the exception of Chile itself, the last to perform on the field.
On Thursday, the Brazilian delegation included two-time Paralympic discus champion Claudine dos Santos and Mariana D’Andrea, a gold medalist at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in 2021. The country is in Santiago with 324 athletes. People with disabilities, in addition to ten track and field mentor athletes (who help blind runners), three boccia runners (a sport for athletes with a high degree of mobility impairment), and two blind soccer goalkeepers (the only ones on the team who can see).
After the show, the center of the square gave way to a representation of a big city, in reference to Santiago, with performers symbolizing urban daily life, bringing elements such as skating and street dancing. Brazilian Tamara Catharino was responsible for the choreography. Chilean singers Ana Tijox and Kia performed the event’s official song, “A La Cima”, accompanied by a hip-hop group. Original movement.
The flag of the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) was raised by six conditioned sports figures, including former swimmer Gabriel Vallejos, the first to represent Chile in the Paralympics, at the Games in Barcelona, Spain in 1992. Chilean President Gabriel Boric declared the Parapan open, While Victor Hugo Silva, captain of the host blind soccer team, swore by the athlete’s performance.
“For the next few days, you [atletas] They will have the opportunity to prove to themselves and everyone else that, with discipline and dedication, it is possible to achieve dreams. You represent all of America united in Santiago. They are ambassadors of the values of the Paralympic Movement, such as courage and dedication, that will inspire everyone,” stressed APC President Julio Cesar Avila in a speech.
The final part of the ceremony included a presentation about the ALMA Project, a facility in the Atacama Desert that includes 66 antennas, located more than five thousand meters above sea level, and which is considered the largest astronomy project in the world. With lights symbolizing the stars, 300 drones created different constellations in the sky of Santiago.
The parapan cauldron was lit by Christian Valenzuela, the first Chilean to win a gold medal in the Paralympic Games, at the London Olympics in the United Kingdom in 2012, in the 5,000 meters race in the T-11 (blind total) category of athletics. The concert concluded with more musical performances by singers Dennis Rosenthal, Beto Cuevas, Pablo Chil-E, Flor del Rap, and again Ana Tijo.
Although the opening ceremony took place on Friday, one of the 17 disciplines of the event actually started last Thursday (16): table tennis, with individual competitions. Brazil has 20 athletes guaranteed to make the men’s and women’s semifinals. Thus, the country is guaranteed 20 medals, as there is no match for third place. It remains to be seen what color they are. In four categories, the duel for a place in the final will be between Brazilian table tennis players.
The result actually surpasses Lima’s, at least in terms of the number of medals. Four years ago, Brazilians achieved 19 individual podiums in the sport.
Since the 2007 edition, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has been at the top of the Parapan medal table. In Lima, the performance was record, with 308 medals and 124 gold.
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