October 20 - The Telmex Athletics Stadium, which is set to host the Pan American Games track and field event here, has been officially opened by Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) President Mario Vázquez Raña at a special ceremony just three days before the athletics competition begins.

The Games got underway last Friday (October 14), with the athletics event - the blue-ribbon event of the competition - set to begin on Sunday (October 23).

However, the athletics competition for the Games has been in severe doubt over the recent months because the 15,000 capacity Telmex Athletics Stadium faced countless delays in being built with construction only beginning late in 2010.

Heavy rain storms were one of the biggest contributing factors in causing delays to the $28 million (£17 million/€19 million) project but after a frantic race against time, the impressive Stadium has been completed and opened just in the nick of time meaning all venues for the Pan American Games are now officially complete.

The special opening event saw Raña, who is also Mexico's International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member, cut a ribbon to symbolically open the venue, while there were a number of other dignitaries in attendance including Guadalajara 2011 Organising Committee general director Carlos Andrade Garin.

"It has been a long a difficult road to get here and there were times when we thought we would not have this stadium ready in time so we are delighted to be opening it today ahead of the athletics competition," Garin told insidethegames.

"It looks absolutely fantastic and I am very happy with all the team who worked so hard to deliver this venue despite the real adversity we faced, particularly the bad weather which we could do absolutely nothing about.

"Everything is now in place for what I'm sure will be a fantastic athletics competition event in a beautiful stadium that Guadalajara and all of Mexico can be proud of."

It was only last week that the athletics track received the seal of approval from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) when Mexico's Cesar Moreno Bravo, a senior IAAInternational Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) technical delegate, announced that his organisation had given the Guadalajara 2011 Organising Committee the certificate of approval for the venue making it eligible to host elite competition.

Some of the sport's top athletics stars, such as Jamaica's Usain Bolt and America's Tyson Gay, will not be representing their teams in at the venue here largely due to the fact that the Games aretaking place so late in the year.

After the Pan American Games, the stadium will become a multipurpose venue hosting sports including athletics and baseball, as well as music concerts.

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz