The Opening Ceremony of the 2015 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games in Ecuador is less than 3 weeks away. More than two and a half years of planning culminates with more than 650 athletes from 35 nations competing in 9 sports.
World Intellectual Impairment Sport would like to express its deepest gratitude to all athletes and teams for supporting this event, and wish you every success in competition.
However, nations will also be aware that in recent days, the Cotopaxi Volcano – located around 30 miles from Quito – began to show signs of an eruption. Ash and gasses were sent up in to the air and these reached areas of the city. The Ecuadorian Government has declared a state of emergency and the region is preparing for a full eruption. (Daily updates regarding the volcano are available in Spanish and English at: https://www.seguridad.gob.ec/category/comunicamos/noticias/)
Since the volcano became active, World Intellectual Impairment Sport has been liaising with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and taking advice from the Ecuadorian Government, Institute of Geophysics and the various embassies to assess the impact on the event.
Whilst no-one can give a definitive assessment of what will happen, activity at the volcano has been increasing and is now continuous. There is an expectation that the volcano will erupt in the days, weeks or months ahead and were this to happen, the impact on the area will be significant. Masks would need to be worn, air and road travel will be disrupted, and major venues – including those being used to host the Global Games – would be required by the authorities to house the many people who must be relocated.
Whilst World Intellectual Impairment Sport wishes to do everything possible to ensure the Games are successful, the safety and health of athletes, team staff, officials and supporters is paramount.
At greatest risk, due to their close proximity to the volcano, are the venues for athletics and table tennis which are due to be held in Latacunga – a town situation in the foothills of the volcano. However the LOC has advised that there will also be widespread disruption (including risk to health) from airborne ashes and gasses across Quito – and that safety cannot be assured.
The World Intellectual Impairment Sport Governing Board have therefore concluded that it is left with no choice but to authorise the LOC to relocate events to venues away from Quito and outside the area of influence and danger of the volcano.
Consequently, the LOC have today confirmed that athletics will now take place in Guaranda, swimming and basketball will take place in Guayaquil and table tennis will take place in Cuenca.
The venue of other sports will be confirmed within the next few days and are expected to be in the Guayaquil/Cuenca area. At this time we expect all sports to take place as planned and venues for athletics and swimming have been chosen which are IAAF/FINA certified respectively in order that IPC classification/sanction is preserved.
These changes do of course impact upon team planning. Most significantly, the LOC request that flights should be re-arranged to arrive directly into Guayaquil airport. Please contact your airline to discuss this change immediately. You should also plan for teams to be separated across 3 venue areas.
Where it is not possible to re-arrange flights, please contact the LOC at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice or to make alternative arrangements for onward travel from Quito airport.
Arrival/Departure and ceremony dates all remain the same, accommodation options are being secured and you will be accommodated in a standard of hotel as similar as possible to that which was requested in Quito, and transport between the various venues is also being organised.
This has been a very unique and difficult situation that has changed daily. We realise the significant inconvenience and disruption that these changes might cause for your team, however you will appreciate and agree that the health and safety of delegations should be our foremost concern.
We will of course keep teams up to date with further information at the earliest opportunity however if you are concerned or have questions, then please contact the organisers (email@example.com) or World Intellectual Impairment Sport (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will try to assist as quickly as possible.
Finally, it is also critical that your final team entry details/payments are submitted to the LOC as soon as possible. Accommodation cannot be secured if payment has not been received, and competitions/classification schedules cannot be completed without full athlete information.
We very much look forward to welcoming you to Ecuador in a few short weeks. Please can we ask for your patience and understanding in the days ahead as the LOC make their final preparations, and we thankyou for your help to make the 2015 Global Games a huge success.