The Pan American Games Santiago 2023 Have Begun© Santiago2023 Press

Yesterday marked the official commencement of the VII Para Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. The National Stadium of Chile was adorned for the occasion, and with an emotional celebration featuring cultural performances and protocol acts, the most significant event in four years for the entire American continent kicked off.

Thirty-one delegations gathered in the Chilean capital to celebrate the pinnacle sporting moment in every Pan American athlete's life. With a festive atmosphere customary for such events, the teams paraded in alphabetical order (except for the host nation) through the impressive National Stadium. The night was further embellished with fireworks and musical shows, crowning a grand evening in South America.

The president of the Andean nation, Gabriel Boric, solemnly declared the opening of the VII Pan American Para Games: "From here, on this beautiful night, surrounded by the Andes mountain range, in this beautiful National Stadium."

The Celebration:

The opening featured a show inspired by "the cosmos and people," emphasizing the connection between urban aesthetics and the sky, as stated by the creative director of the ceremony, Hansel Cereza. The ceremony included performances by Chilean artists such as singers Beto Cuevas, Denise Rosenthal, and Latin Grammy winner Anita Tijoux, who, along with Movimiento Original, performed the official event song "A la cima" (To the Summit).

The Competition:

Two thousand para-athletes competing in 9 sports (Direct tickets) for the Paris 2024 Paralympics will be the highlight of the games, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Andes until November 26. The main stars include "O Rei Ricardinho," considered the greatest blind footballer in history (4 Paralympic golds, 3 world championships, and 3 recognitions as the world's best player), Mexican swimmer Naomi Somellera (aiming to replicate her 6 medals from Lima 2019), and the wheelchair basketball team from the United States of America, fresh from winning gold in Tokyo 2020.

Athlete Debuts:

While competitions began on Thursday with table tennis, today marks the debut of the bulk of sporting activities, including Blind Football, CP Football, Goalball, Para Powerlifting, Para Swimming, Para Table Tennis, Shooting Para Sport, Wheelchair Basketball, and Wheelchair Rugby.

In addition to table tennis, which will compete in medal finals, swimming, weightlifting, and shooting sports (providing three direct slots to Paris 2024) will also have their finals.