The 2014 South American Beach Games have begun in Vargas, Venezuela. The Games will take place from 14 to 24 May. Teams from fourteen South American nations have come together to compete over ten events, including beach volleyball, surfing and open water swimming. In the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro expressed his welcome to the visiting athletes.
“To the athletes from all corners of our immense South America, be welcome in the land of the liberator Simon Bolivar, feel yourselves in your own country, your presence gladdens us…These games are also a new space of love, peace and life. Love live South America,” he said.
During the opening ceremony a traditional music set with the harp, maracas and cuatro was played in tribute to the memory of former President Hugo Chavez. Other music and song evocative of Venezuelan cultures and traditions was also played, as well as classical music, for which Venezuela is known.
Jose Alejandro Teran, a vice minister in Venezuela’s Sport Ministry, lauded the games as an “organisational success” and “the beginning of a new page in Venezuelan sport”.
The official also said that the Venezuelan team is aiming to finish in the top three in the Games. Brazil won the last Games, which were held in Ecuador.
The first gold medal went to Venezuela for the triathlon event. The team of four is made up of Jose David Amaya, Joselyn Brea, Fiama Rodriguez, and Miguel Lopez.
“I’m very proud of my team for the work we put in before the competition. We prepared from the beginning and the training was very tough. We all had the desire to give the country its first gold medal, and thank god, we did it,” said Joselyn Brea.
Venezuela leads the competition so far with two gold medals and one bronze. It is followed by Ecuador (1G, 2S) and Colombia (1S, 2B). 39 gold and a total of 117 medals are up for grabs.
Text by Ewan Robertson for Venezuelanalysis.com