Barranquilla has been awarded hosting rights to the 2027 Pan American Games, with the Colombian city’s Mayor, Jaime Pumarejo, stating it will not seek to develop ‘white elephants’ to stage the multi-sport showpiece.

Following Cali’s staging of the 1971 Games, Barranquilla will welcome the 20th edition of the largest multi-sport event in the Americas after it was the only city to make a formal proposal to the Panam Sports continental body.

The announcement in the coastal city on Friday evening came after organisers of the inaugural Junior Pan American Games last week claimed that it will be the first multi-sport event with significant fan attendance since the outbreak of COVID-19 more than 18 months ago.

After being postponed from its original dates of September 9-19 back in May due to the pandemic, the 2021 Games is now set to take place at 50% capacity in Cali-Valle, Colombia from November 25 to December 5.

The most recent edition of the Pan American Games took place in Lima, Peru in 2019, while Santiago is set to take the Games to Chile in 2023. Commenting on the award of the 2027 Games to Barranquilla, Panam Sports president, Neven Ilic, said: “This designation that Panam Sports is making represents the very special recognition of a country that has shown an unconditional commitment to the development of sport throughout the continent.

“We were pleasantly surprised in 2018 with the organisation of the Central American and Caribbean Games (in Barranquilla). Despite the pandemic, they continued to believe in us and are making an incredible effort by working hard for the first Junior Pan American Games of Cali 2021, which makes us very happy and motivated.

“That is why our member countries have decided to grant the hosting rights of our main sporting event in 2027 to the beautiful city of Barranquilla.”

President of Colombia, Ivan Duque, added: “This is the government that has supported the Junior Pan American Games and we decided to see them through because it was also a message that not even the pandemic is going to take away from us that possibility of dreaming big.

“We have their back and they have our support. I want this to not only be a project for Barranquilla and Atlantico, but also for the entire country. Colombia is going to host the Pan American Games for the second time in history, as it did it in Cali in 1971, and as it will do again at the Puerta de Oro, in Barranquilla in 2027. We are all united to carry out that purpose.”

Pumarejo told local broadcaster Blu Radio that Barranquilla is building “rational scenarios” for its Games and will make full use of facilities developed for the Central American and Caribbean Games.

He said: “We have a good part of the infrastructure. A good part of the infrastructure is a legacy of the Central Americans and we will use it for the Pan Americans. The rational use of money is the most important thing, that we plan well and things go according to budget.

“We will not make big stadiums with capacities that will then not be used, but with strict capacities that Barranquilleros can continue to use.”

Image: Panam Sports