RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Rugby union and racquetball were
added to the list of sports that will be played in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Mario Vazquez Rana, president of the Pan American Sports
Organization, or PASO, made the announcement Wednesday in the
organization's general assembly in Rio de Janeiro, where the 2007
games begin Friday.
Rana said no sports would be dropped at this time, increasing
the number of events to 36 in 2011.
Rana also said baseball and softball were guaranteed for the
games in Guadalajara, dismissing some earlier reports that they
would be dropped.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said the addition of rugby union to the Pan Ams opens the doors for the
sport in a future Olympics.
"It's closer than ever," he said.
Rana said the possible addition of rugby as an Olympic sport
"was not bad news for baseball ... which would have its chance."
Racquetball was played in the previous three editions of the Pan Ams before being dropped for Rio de Janeiro.
Also Wednesday, three cities announced bids for the 2015 Pan
Ams: Bogota, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; and Lima, Peru. Canada
said it would bid for the games, but did not identify a city.
Rana also said he expected to talk to Panama President Martin
Torrijos to discuss the country's participation in the Rio Games.
The Panamanian Olympic Committee was suspended by the
international Olympic movement following a lengthy legal dispute
over control of the local federation. Panama's athletes will be
able to compete internationally under the flag of the Pan American
Sports Organization rather than their own flag until the issue is
Torrijos is expected to arrive in Rio on Thursday.