President’s blog: The warmth and joy of Santiago 2023
Date: November 28, 2023
The Para PanAmerican Games – Santiago 2023 just finished this past Sunday, and the minds of the winners are already focused on the Paralympic Games of Paris 2024.
IBSA had its three Paralympic sports competing in Chile’s capital. With the exception of Judo, whose Paralympic ranking is still running until the last competitions in 2024, Goalball and Blind Football had its slots defined, in some cases, in a very dramatic way. In high-performance sports, we know that the winner takes it all, but we must bow to those teams that gave everything to be present in the biggest Paralympic event on the planet.
In the Blind Football competition, Santiago 2023 was the last qualification stage, and so the full list of participants in Paris 2024 is already known.
France will be the host; Morocco will come as the African champion; Brazil will participate as the American champion; China as the Asian champion; Turkiye will come from the European Championship; Argentina as the world champion; Colombia as fourth place in the world championship; and Japan as the fifth in the world championship, once Brazil got the bronze medal but qualified as the American champion.
In Goalball, men and women also qualified their respective teams for Paris 2024. In the men’s tournament, Brazil once again proved its world champion status, although they haven’t competed officially since the last edition of the World Championship in Portugal in December 2022. In the women’s tournament, Canada got the gold medal in Santiago 2023, so they got the right to the slot in the next Paralympic Games, leaving Brazil and the USA out.
For the rest of the qualification process in Goalball, until the end of the year, there will be the European and African Championships to define which countries will have their tickets to Paris 2024 from their continental competitions.
Chile was a wonderful host country, and its people showed how engaged they are with the Paralympic movement. The presence of the country’s president, Mr. Gabriel Boric, at the opening ceremony and the constant presence of the Minister of Sport, Mr. Jaime Pizarro Herrera, during the entire competition inspired the people. But, most important, was the legacy that these Games left. The facilities of the renewed Estadio Nacional de Chile are now state-of-the-art in terms of Paralympic sports, fully adapted to athletes with disabilities, something that will help Chile grow in the Paralympic movement as well as be prepared to host many more high-level competitions.
Without a doubt, the Para PanAmerican Games – Santiago 2023 were a true success, and Chile must be proud not only of their organising capabilities but especially of the warmth and joyful reception of its people, and in particular of all the volunteers, always one of the most important parts in these kinds of events.
One last remark for Brazil and their 343 medals won in total. They are clearly the biggest American superpower in Paralympic sports, and they proved it once more in Chile.
IBSA Media Officer