Quiñones González (Panam Weightlifting): “We have a clean continent in relation to doping”
Juan Antonio Belmar
April 5, 2024

The Weightlifting World Cup is being held in Phuket, Thailand, from March 31 to April 11. This event is mandatory participation for all weightlifters seeking a quota or to score points to be in the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, something that will have influenced the record of 466 participating athletes from 109 different nationalities. In addition to the athletes, on the island of Phuket, the president of the Pan American Weightlifting Confederation, José Quiñones González, a Peruvian leader who spoke briefly with SportsIn about the current situation of this discipline.

Question – What are the expectations of the countries you preside at Pan American level?

Quiñones González: “We have several countries that are going to qualify, I say some, not all, for example: Canada, United States, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil to name a few. They have a highly competitive level, in addition to highlighting that in recent times we are a clean continent in relation to doping compared to other territories”.

How important is it for the development of the continent over which you preside to have you at the highest level, where the most important decisions in world weightlifting are made?

Q. G: “We should always try to include people from our continent in the world instances. For example, in this Executive Committee prior to the start of the World Cup – here in Thailand – we were able to make sure that two of the world championships for the year 2028 – a qualifier for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles at the absolute level – and the U17 World Championship in 2026 – a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games in Senegal – were in South American hands: Venezuela, adult category, and Argentina, in the youth category. This is very good, because our athletes can look for the qualification in the same time line, similar food, short distances to travel. Therefore, it is less stressful for them to give their best.

These things are achieved by having leadership weight, I am not referring only to me or to a specific case, the more representation there is, the more we can fight to be heard internationally”.

I can’t help but ask you about hosting the Lima 2027 Pan American Games. You were the one who paved the way for the postulation of Lima 2019 in an election that in the run-up was difficult to win, but you stayed with those games. With your experience, why would Lima win the Pan American Games again?

Q. G: “I believe that there was not just one reason, but a series of reasons why Lima was awarded again in such a short time. The first reason was expressed by the president of Panam Sports, our friend Neven Ilic, at the closing of the 2019 games, when he said very generously that they had been excellent games, perhaps the best games ever. I think a lot of people at least shared the feeling that it was a good Games and that meant that people had confidence that it was possible to have a good Games again.

At the same time, although both cities presented great bids and were very good, of course I congratulate Asuncion, Paraguay, but the short time between the awarding of the venue and the realization of the games, let’s say that it was very stressful for one of the organizing committees to be able to arrive on time with everything that was required. In that sense, it is true that Lima had an advantage, since all the infrastructure was practically ready, in addition to building the towers for the Pan American Village and taking care of rowing and canoeing, which are already in private hands.

I recognize that for Lima it was simpler, for Asunción it meant a bigger challenge because it meant facing a series of works in a short period of time. I am not saying that they could not do it, I believe they could do it, but let’s also say that people thought it was safer that Lima could be completed on time.

A third factor is connectivity, Lima’s connectivity is superior to Asunción’s, we have more direct flights with the United States and with other capitals of America and that entails certain conveniences when moving, I think that also influenced the decision of who to vote for”.

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