Pan Am Games begin in Toronto

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Toronto, July 11 (IANS) Over 6,000 athletes from 41 countries and regions in North America and South America are participating in the 17th Pan American Games, commonly known as the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, here.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and an audience of more than 54,000 witnessed a grand opening ceremony at Toronto’s Rogers Center On Friday evening, reported Xinhua news agency.

It is the largest international multi-sport event ever held in Canada.

Produced by the Cirque du Soleil, the opening featured 625 performers from 25 different countries and regions, and included a parade of nations and the lighting of the cauldron.

An estimated 6,135 athletes set to represent 41 countries and regions will compete in 364 events across 36 sports.

Canada, the host, has announced a full team of 719 athletes, the country’s largest team ever fielded in its multi-sport games history. A number of Chinese-Canadians will compete in table tennis, badminton, tennis, women’s softball and women’s soccer.

Approximately 23,000 volunteers will contribute to the event.

The cost of Toronto Pan Am Games is pegged at 2.5 billion Canadian dollars (about $2 billion). According to a report, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Toronto could be a good candidate for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games depending on how it conducts the Pan Am Games.

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