Cali, Colombia Awarded Inaugural Jr. Pan American Games in 2021

In August 2021, Cali, Colombia will host the inaugural Jr. Pan American Games for athletes between the ages of 18 and 21-years-old. The event is being organized by Panam Sports, the same organization that organizes the quadrennial Pan American Games which will take place in Peru this August.

The purpose of the Jr. Pan American Games is to give younger athletes an opportunity to make an international team in their sport even if they fall short of making the ‘A’ team for the World Championships or another like event, due to the proliferation of professional and sponsored athletes. Athletes at the the 2021 Jr. Pan American Games may also qualify for the 2023 Pan American Games set to take place in Santiago, Chile, if they win their “discipline,” reports

Speaking on the privilege of hosting the first-ever Junior Pan Am Games, President of the Colombian Olympic Committee Baltazar Medina said:

“We are very happy, but at the same time we will be sure to strictly comply with the requirements of Panam Sports to deliver an excellent Games.”

“For us, the time is too short, but we have the peace of mind that we have the most important thing needed for the Games and that is the infrastructure.”

“What we have to do now is prepare the home of these Games and motivate all of the athletes,” reports

Concerning infrastructure, Cali has previously hosted the 2013 World Games, a multi-sport event consisting of over 2,000 athletes from 103 nations, as well as the 1971 Pan American Games.

The emergence of the Jr. Pan American Games is the latest major international sporting event tailored for “junior” athletes on the cusp of major international success in their sport.

The FINA World Junior Championships was first launched in 2006 and has only known six incarnations, though the 7th FINA World Junior Championships will take place this August in Budapest. Another example of “junior” sports in action is the Commonwealth Youth Games, an international multi-sport championships reserved for athletes ages 14 to 18-years-old. First held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in August 2000, the Commonwealth Youth Games, like its grown-up counterpart, is a quadrennial event, and since its inception has only taken place six times.

The Youth Olympic Games (summer) also kicked off in 2010 under the guidance of the International Olympic Committee. The winter version of the Youth Olympic Games began two years later in 2012, with its second-ever iteration taking place in 2016. Future versions of the Winter YOG will be held in 2020 and 2024, meanwhile the Summer YOG will pickup again in 2022 and 2026. It is important to distinguish the YOG from the “Jr. Olympics,” which could refer to the YOG, but more commonly is a reference to the AAU Junior Olympic Games, at least in American vernacular.

The AAU Junior Olympic Games is a multi-sport event with all sports taking place in the same city and surrounding areas. The 2019 AAU Junior Olympic Games will take place in Greensboro, NC, with most sports taking place at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, which also houses the Greensboro Aquatic Center, host of many NCAA conference and national championship competitions.

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About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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