Bridgewater Among Five PASO Dignitaries Checking Toronto’s Suitability For 2015 PanAm Games

Mr. Alphonso Bridgewater - One Of Five Dignitaries

Mr. Alphonso Bridgewater – One Of Five Dignitaries
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
Septemebr 01, 2009 (CUOPM)

The Kittitian President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Olympic Committee, Mr. Alphonso Bridgewater, is among five dignitaries from Uruguay, Ecuador, Mexico and Paraguay checking out Toronto’s potential as a host city for the 2015 PanAm Games.

The two-day site visit by the Pan American Sports Organization evaluation committee started with breakfast atop the CN Tower and a stop at Niagara Falls and concluded with a banquet dinner.

Other members of the five-man commission are Julio Cesar Maglione, an International Olympic Committee member and head of the world swimming federation and PASO heavyweights such as Felipe Munoz Kapamas, influential head of the Mexican Olympic Committee.

The evaluation team, which visited other bid cities in Lima and Bogota last week isn’t likely to name a No. 1 candidate but its findings will influence the 42-member voting nations when a host city is named in November.

Bob Richardson, a senior advisor to the Toronto 2015 bid, said the visit was “terrific.”

A “lucky break” in the weather during the Sunday morning breakfast at the CN Tower offered the PASO delegation a panoramic vista of the entire greater golden horseshoe area where the games would be staged, as well as a bird’s eye view of venues like the Rogers Center, Air Canada Centre and Exhibition grounds sports facilities that could also play host.

It capped off Saturday night with a banquet attended by Mayor David Miller as well as provincial and federal officials backstopping the bid.

“There’s a great collegial atmosphere developing,” Mr. Richardson said. “I think personal relationships are very important, as they are in sports or business or politics.”

On Sunday, officials took a GO Train ride out to Hamilton where they went to McMaster University’s sports medicine facility, the David Braley Centre.

There was a helicopter tour of the proposed sites for rowing, sailing and open-water swimming in St. Catharines, as well as a side stop to arguably Canada’s most famous tourist trap, Niagara Falls.

While a bus of roving protesters tried to keep up with the PASO officials’ packed schedule, Mr. Richardson slammed their efforts as “a joke” and decried the “disproportionate” media attention given to their efforts.

“It’s a joke. A dozen people came out yesterday and 20 came out today,” he said. “It’s frankly a complete and total non-event.”
Mr. Richardson said the five delegates who visited Toronto are among 40 who will cast votes on the city to host the 2015 Pan Am Games at a meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico, set for November.

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