Carlos Neuhaus is the new President of Lima 2019 ©Lima 2019

Peruvian Olympic Committee President José Quiñones has played down concerns over the Lima 2019 Pan American Games project. 

With three years to go, and with multi-sports event concepts around the world coming under fierce scrutiny for their perceived extravagance and unwieldiness, questions over Lima 2019’s rate of progress have recently surfaced both in the media and among regional sports observers.

However, contacted by insidethegames, Quiñones said that the new Peruvian Government had repeatedly underlined its support for the Games and that a newly-approved measure to reduce red tape would make an important difference.

"We are behind in some things, but we still have plenty of time to get everything ready," Quiñones said.

"Of around 20 different venues, maybe we are behind on three.

"But now with fast-track tendering approval, we think we will be ready ahead of time with all of them…

"I would like to be in a better position than now. 

"Of course. 

"But we are doing things and the people in charge are good."

José Quiñones claims to remain confident about the progress of Lima 2019 ©Lima 2019
José Quiñones claims to remain confident about the progress of Lima 2019 ©Lima 2019

Quiñones offered a strong vote of confidence in the new President of the Organising Committee (COPAL), Carlos Neuhaus, saying he was "the best man possible" and would "control everything".

As this implies, Neuhaus, a former President of the Peruvian Surfing Federation, is expected to act as an executive President.

Quiñones described him as a private entrepreneur who had worked as a high-ranking official in many public companies.

It emerged earlier this year that Deloitte, the professional services firm, had been taken on as general consultants to assist with development of a master plan for Lima 2019.

According to Quiñones, this master plan has now been completed and the process of hiring the key individuals to implement it is well under way. 

Asked about suggestions that Lima 2019 had fallen behind with instalment payments totalling $20 million (£15 million/€18 million), due between 2014 and 2019 to the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), Quiñones said PASO had given Lima until the end of this year to make remaining payments originally due by then.

"That is what we will do," he said. 

Carlos Neuhaus, left, is expected to play a more hands-on role as Lima 2019 President ©José Quiñones
Carlos Neuhaus, left, is expected to play a more hands-on role as Lima 2019 President ©José Quiñones

Quiñones said that the new Peruvian President - centre-right candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski who won a narrow victory in elections in June - had assured PASO by telephone and in writing that Lima 2019 was a national project that would receive all the Governmental support it needed..

According to the Peruvian Olympic Committee President, the previous Government approved the budget of around $1.2 billion (£920 million/€1.06 billion) and had approved around $250 million (£193 million/€223 million) to be spent on Lima 2019 this year.

"We began very fast," Quiñones said, pointing out that a high-performance centre had been opened a year after winning the right to host the Games; this had staged a World Junior Championships in badminton last year.

He also argued that Lima is well-stocked with existing sports facilities that could be used as a Plan B "if something really bad happened".

He offered as an example the venue for the 2011 World Junior Swimming Championships that could act as an alternative if plans to build a new aquatics centre did not come off.

The Peruvian capital is currently staging the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships.

A PASO report on the first official visit by its three-member Coordination Commission last February gave the Lima 2019 project a generally positive report while urging COPAL to "begin soonest the process of sourcing and employing the relevant expertise to manage the several functional areas of the Games", which are set to feature 38 sports.