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The 500 days of Neven Ilic at the helm of Panam Sports

Panam Sports President Neven Ilic sums up his first 500 days in office. (Photo: Panam Sports)
by Ernesto Ortiz Gomez, President Circulo de Periodistas Deportivos de Uruguay
LIMA, September 12, 2018 - He invited us to his suite at Swissotel Lima in Lima to talk about some of our favourite things; sports management, its relationship with governments as well as the organization’s internal structures and plans.

"How fast time passes," was the first thing he told us after we reminded him that he was approaching his 500th day in office. "I had not noticed that this time had passed," he added.

That was the beginning of this conversation with Neven Ilic, President of Panam Sports, the Pan American Sports Organization (before PASO).

Plans and objectives “We are happy and satisfied with our work so far. We are a family of 41 countries with different styles, different cultures, capacities and resources. So the strategy by Panam Sports is that each NOC is able to carry out their projects with our help. We do not define how the plan should be, but help them to make it concrete. We have met with each and every NOC, to know their strengths and weaknesses and have chosen a funding strategy to ensure that the plans and objectives that they have proposed for the development of sports in their countries are successful.

"From these meetings we also draw positive conclusions regarding the monitoring of a specific plan and support in the administration of resources. We pay attention to details and work closely with each Olympic committee, which gives all of us the opportunity to improve."

Governance and transparency as required by the IOC "We also demand this from Panam Sports. We are committed to demonstrating our transparency, and this is fundamental. The world today, where support from public and private entities come from, claim that intangible elements such as credibility can be seen in organizations.

"This is practically everything and as an institution, we must be an example in our attitude towards designing projects as well as investing and utilizing resources. This is in line with a long-term plan that we proposed. We know where we are going and what we want. If we make a mistake, we correct it. The pillars of the plan are basically four. 1) The Athletes. 2) The reinforcement of the activity of the National Olympic Committees with new products. 3) Our main event, the Pan American Games 4) Transparency."

Gender equality “It has never been a distant subject for me because I think the role of women is natural. The woman has wonderful abilities which I do not need to highlight and I do not have the conflict of what role we should give her. For me it is normal, I delegate a lot of women. I can even say that in many cases women have superior abilities to men in leadership. But while we understand it this way, everyone must apply it. We fully trust in the good judgment of the Olympic Committees when it comes to sharing responsibilities and giving women their natural place in management."


Ilic with the Mascot of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima (Photo: Panam Sports)


Lima 2019 "I have said several times that it is difficult to transmit to those who are farther away from the situation. The image that many have is that the games are in danger and there are instabilities. But when one makes a direct contact one finds incredibly the formidable work that has been carried out by the Pan American Organizing Committee Lima 2019 (COPAL). We were chosen as hosts in Punta del Este in April 2017 and in May we were here in Lima going through everything. At that time, we decided that we had to support Lima. We believe that Lima will host one of the best Pan American Games. The structure is world class, the construction level is excellent, the legacy that will remain for Lima is extraordinary; in communication, transportation, food, organization of high level sporting events."

Lima 2019 in numbers 41 delegations, 39 Sports and 62 Disciplines. 12 Sports will serve as qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 6695 Athletes will compete in a space of 17 days at the Pan-American Games which begins on July 26, 2019 and ends on August 11. For the Para Panam Games, to be held from August 23, 2019, there will be 1890 athletes from 31 delegations. They will participate in 17 sports, with 16 of them serving as qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. There will be 10 days of competition in 14 venues.
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