Parapan American Games
The Parapan American Games are an equivalent to the Pan American Games for disabled athletes. Though relatively new - the first Games were held only in 1999 - the multi-sport event is only second in importance and popularity to the Paralympics in the Americas. In addition to enabling disabled athletes to compete for medals in several Olympic disciplines, the Parapan American Games also serve as a qualifier for the Paralympic Games. They are held after the Pan American Games every four years.
Foundation and Reception
The Parapan American Games were inaugurated in Mexico City in 1999. They were held in the same year as the Pan American Games but not by the same host as the latter were hosted by Winnipeg, Canada. Approximately 1,000 athletes from 18 countries competed in the first Parapan American Games, hoping not only to win a medal but to qualify for the 2000 Sydney Paralympics as well.
The 2nd Parapan American Games were hosted by Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 2003 and again, served as a qualifier for the upcoming Paralympics. Over 1,500 athletes from 28 countries participated in the contest for medals and “tickets” for the Paralympic Games. Again, the Games were held in the same year but by different host than the Pan American Games. This changed after the 3rd Parapan Games that were held in both the same year and by the same host as the Pan American counterpart - Rio de Janeiro.
2015 Toronto Parapan American Games
Just like the last Parapan American Games that were held in the host city of the Pan American Games - Guadalajara, Mexico - the 2015 Games will be held by the host of the Pan American counterpart as well - Toronto, Canada. According to the organiser, the 2015 Games will be the largest ever - over 1,500 athletes from 28 states are expected to compete in 15 disciples for bronze, silver and gold medal as well as to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games. The 2015 Games will open 12 days after the closing ceremony of the Pan American Games.