San Salvador put out the fire of the XXIV Central American and Caribbean Games on Saturday, which left Mexico at the top of the medal table, thus passing the baton to Santo Domingo, which will organize the regional fair in 2026.
With a ceremony marked by Caribbean music, the deployment of a drone show and the athletes’ parade, the authorities of the Organizing Committee and Centro Caribe Sports highlighted the development of the games, which resulted in some 400 qualifications for the Pan American Games and 12 more to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
“We have achieved it. For us it was a year and a half of a lot of work, of a lot of sacrifice and after these 18 months here we are closing the Central American and Caribbean Games,” said the president of the Organizing Committee, Yamil Bukele, at the facilities of the Héroes y Mártires University Stadium on July 30, 1975.
El Salvador hosted these games after Panama declined the organization as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and Mayagüez (Puerto Rico), which was competing with the Salvadorans for the venue, will withdraw its candidacy.
The Central American country welcomed thousands of athletes from 37 sports with a total of 53 disciplines under extensive police and military deployment, since the country has been under an emergency regime since 2022.
“We hope that El Salvador has lived up to what you deserve” and “we will see each other in Santo Domingo, to whom we wish the best of the best in the organization of the next Central American and Caribbean Games,” stressed Bukele, president of the state sports institute of El Salvador.
Luis Mejía, president of Centro Caribe Sports, the entity that owns the games, stressed that these games were “a great feat of the 21st century,” given the time trial organization.
“Here in El Salvador, the biggest games in the history of our organization were held in a year and a half,” said Mejía, declaring them “the best games in Central America and the Caribbean in our history under these conditions.”
The Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador left Mexico at the top of the medal table, with 145 gold, 108 silver and 100 bronze medals, for a total of 353, its best mark since Mayagüez 2010, when it achieved 384.
Colombia closed its participation in second place with 87 gold medals and Cuba, third in the regional fair, with 74 gold medals.