President of Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee

Trinidad and Tobago, July 19, 2013: BRIAN LEWIS, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), met with his compatriots from Peru and Chile, on Wednesday and on July 4 respectively, as the two South American nations individually bid for the rights to host the 2019 Pan American Games.

The National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Chile, Peru, Argentina and Venezuela are in a close battle to stage the Games, and that decision will be made at the next General Assembly of PASO (Pan American Sporting Organisations), scheduled for October in Toronto, Canada.

In a media conference at the TTOC office, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain on Wednesday, after his meeting with Peru Olympic Committee president Jose Quinones, Lewis said, “I’m not at liberty at this time to say which of the two you would have heard has gained our nod of approval, because our process is ongoing.”

“The strength of Peru’s bid is based upon the transformation that sport will bring to the youth of the nation,” he added.

“They have a very interesting history, recent and past, where sport was literally put on the back-burner in Peru.

“And they would have suffered greatly as a society from this. So their bid is a key part of the transformation of their society.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) places the welfare of our athletes’ front, centre and behind.

“What was also an interesting feature of Peru’s bid is that, normally, in South American countries, either March or October, would be the chosen window for the Games, because of their (climatic) seasons.

“Interestingly enough, Peru is proposing to host the Games in July. That is another interesting feature, and one that would augur well for them.”

Quinones stated, “We are not here because we need more buildings for the Games.

“That’s not important as having the opportunity to receive the best of our country and to create positive role models.

“I have seen what that beautiful medal (by Keshorn Walcott) in London did for your country. That’s the same we want in our country.”

“We are here because we believe in the power of sport. In the year where we commemorate 150 years of our birth, I think it will be really beautiful if the (Pan Am nations) can permit us to have the honour to receive the Pan Am Games in our city,” he added.

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Chile president Neven Illic, Vice-president Miguel Angel Mujica, director Jorge Silva and advisor Gonzalo Escobedo met with the TTOC executive earlier this month.

“I think that the presentation is a sound one,” said Lewis. “It’s well thought out.”

Asked if there may be any planned visit from the other interested hosts, the TTOC boss noted, “they would have done their presentations at various meetings.

“I don’t know, they may have a slightly different strategy.”

“As I said, the presentation (of Chile) was a very sound one, they addressed a lot of the important issues that will impact the quality of Games, especially from the athletes’ side,” he continued.

“They would have about 70 percent of their facilities finished by March next year. It is a commendable approach.

“They have a very strong legacy and perspective, the role that they would like to see sports play in Chile.”

“So that the hosting of the Games, and they’re also hosting the South American Games in March next year. It’s all part of their strategic national vision for the development of Chile and the role that sport can play. It is also a financially prudent bid,” he ended. By: JOEL BAILEY

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