By David Gold

parapan am_opening_ceremony_14-11-11November 12 - The opening of the Parapan American Games was marked by a spectacular Opening Ceremony at the Telmex Athletics Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In total 1,500 athletes were present from the 24 competing countries along with a number of dignitaries, including International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven.

The Ceremony celebrated the history of the host city and included a rock and pop concert, as well as three speeches.

"Sport is a unique and noble expression of human greatness and generosity," said Octavio Londoño, President of the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC).

"Its diversity of colours and expressions teach us all that we can achieve the best through this wonderful tool that aims to leave no one out.

"The history of this continent where we celebrate the meaning of life started here in Mexico.

"In 1999, Mexico City took the first step in the Parapan American journey and the dream continued growing in Mar Del Plata 2003, Rio de Janeiro 2007, and today once again in Mexico, with Guadalajara 2011.

"This city is as pretty as ever and also more welcoming and more inclusive than ever.

"From this land, we are sending a message to all of the American continent.

"Paralympic Sport will be a blossoming reality in the 42 countries that make up the Pan American sports community.

"The public agenda must give top priority to the significance of this: sport unites, and within it, there is room for the infinite diversity of the entire human race."

Imelda Guzman, President of the Organising Committee of the Parapan Games, and Bernardo de la Garza, the Mexican Federation Director of Sports, also gave speeches.

The first action got underway tomorrow at the Games, with 13 sports being contested as a number of competitors hope to book their places at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

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