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Bolivia lands 2018 South American Games after Lima withdrawal

The South American Sports Organisation (ODESUR) has announced the appointment of the Bolivian city of Cochabamba as the host of the 2018 South American Games.

ODESUR elected Cochabamba as host city during its general assembly meeting in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. The city was the only candidate for the multi-sport event after the Peruvian capital of Lima withdrew its bid on Friday.

ODESUR stressed that strong government backing was a key factor behind Cochabamba’s success. Bolivian President Evo Morales made a personal visit to ODESUR on Friday to express his support for the bid.

ODESUR president Carlos Arthur Nuzman (pictured) said: “We are very happy with the Bolivian government's determination to hold the event. The visit of President Evo Morales to Rio de Janeiro shows that commitment and confirms the growing importance of the Games to South America, which is continually gaining importance on the world stage. The 2016 Olympics will be in Rio de Janeiro, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, the 2019 Universiade in Brasilia, and we still have the (Fifa) World Cup in Brazil next year.”

Cochabamba’s election means the South American Games will return to Bolivia for the first time since La Paz staged the inaugural edition in 1978. The Colombian city of Medellin staged the most recent Games in 2010, with the Chilean capital of Santiago due to host next year’s event from March 7-18.