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Mexican President opened 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara

The Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, declared open in Omnilife Stadium the Guadalajara Pan-Am Games, which will take place until October 30.
“I solemnly declare inaugurated the XVI Pan-Am Games,” said Calderon under the enthusiastic eye of the 49,000 spectators present in the Stadium.

Calderon proclaimed his “certainty” that the Games symbolize the “union of fraternity, piece, and prosperity” among the American nations. Weightlifting competition starts on 23 October with 125 athletes (69 men and 56 women).

The organization of the quadrennial event, which draw 6,000 athletes from 42 nations in the Americas, is sure to come under intense scrutiny as Mexico plays host to its first major event since the 1986 World Cup, and first big multi-sport competition since the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

The games offer direct qualification in a dozen sports to next year’s Olympics.

The Netherlands Antilles will have 11 athletes competing under the flag of the Pan American Sports Organization because the International Olympic Committee no longer recognizes it as an independent country. Next year, athletes from the islands located off the northeast coast of South America will compete under the IOC flag in London.