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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

Tokyo 2020 #1YearToGo

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The Lima 2019 Pan American Games are officially under way following a bright and lively Opening Ceremony here.

A sold-out crowd and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach were taken back through Peruvian history, aided by a representation of Lima’s sacred mountain Nevado Parlacaca placed in the centre of the stage.

Pre-Hispanic gods, cajónes, Peruvian paso horses and a digital reincarnation of Peruvian singer Chabuca Granda featured throughout the Ceremony, alongside formal proceedings such as a Parade of Nations.

Peru received the largest cheer from the crowd as their delegation was led out by an ekeko, the Tiwanakan god of abundance and prosperity.

Lima 2019 President Carlos Neuhaus began the speeches, followed by Panam Sports President Neven Ilic.

Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra then declared the Games officially open.

"Dear friends of the 41 countries of the Americas and the world," he said.

"Welcome to the biggest sports party on the continent.

"Peru, land of great cultures and an ancient history, welcomes you with open arms.

"It is an honour for me to inaugurate the eighteenth Pan American Games, Lima 2019."

The Lima 2019 Torch Relay came to an end when the cauldron, shaped like an Incan sun, was lit by Cecilia Tait, a Seoul 1988 Olympic volleyball silver medallist.

Four other Peruvian athletes were also involved in the final stretch of the relay.

Mexico City 1975 Pan American Games 100 metre hurdles champion Edith Noeding carried the Torch into the stadium, passing it on to judoka Ariana Balterzar Minan and table tennis player Carlos Fernandez, two young athletes who represented the bright future of Peru.

Former Olympic volleyball player Lucha Fuentes then took the Torch, handing it to Tait.

Puerto Rican singer, songwriter and producer Luis Fonsi concluded the evening, performing seven songs and leaving hit Despacito till last.

The official music video for Despacito is the most-viewed Youtube video of all time, with 6.25 billion views.

As the Ceremony came to an end, 16 days of competition are set to begin in 39 sports, with around 6,700 athletes expected to participate.

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