The Paraguayan capital of Asuncion has decided to pull out of hosting the 2022 South American Games amid rising costs, with the country’s government saying it intends to reallocate the funds to build a new hospital in the city instead.
2022 would have marked Paraguay’s first-ever hosting of the South American Games, having been awarded the hosting rights in 2017 as the only bidding candidate. Instead, the South American Sports Organization (ODESUR) will now seek a new home for the competition.
ODESUR president Camilo Pérez López Moreira is also the president of the Paraguay Olympic Commission, and told Paraguayan newspaper Ultima Hora that he was “devastated” by the government’s decision, calling it a “day of mourning for Paraguayan sport.”
According to the country’s sports minister Fatima Morales, the cost of the 2022 Games had ballooned massively, from an initial projection of about $31m (£25m/€27.8m) to almost $160m, a figure the the National Secretariat of Sports was not able to meet.
Morales said that the government would instead focus on meeting the healthcare requirements of its people by funding the construction of a new $60m hospital in the Barrio Obrero district of Asuncion.