The path of Damaris Young, the first woman to preside over the Panama Olympic Committee
Juan Antonio Belmar
April 25, 2024
Damaris Young is a prominent lawyer specializing in sports law and management who adds to her record the gold medal with the women’s basketball team at the X Central American Games 2013, held in San José. In May 2021, she broke the hegemony by assuming the presidency of the Panama Olympic Committee (COP) and that same year the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE) awarded her the award for outstanding woman of the year.
Damaris lived in several countries seeking academic improvement, without forgetting his origins and his country, and being clear in his heart that sport and the promotion of the values it contains were in his DNA, for this reason, he made a career assuming leadership positions and, little by little, it gained space and prestige, catapulting it to be part of the Executive Committee of ODESUR and also of Centro Caribe Sport, among other responsibilities. In her busy schedule, she took a break to attend to the contact with SportsIn and respond with the usual sincerity.
What is the assessment that she has made since the day she took over the Panama Olympic Committee?
“On May 19, 2021, we assumed the important commitment to manage and direct the Panama Olympic Committee in a transparent, planned and professional manner. Task that we have undertaken, always having as a key element to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision compliance with the Universal Principles for Good Governance of the Olympic Movement and reliably practicing the values that govern and guide our organization, such as transparency, integrity, excellence, teamwork and inclusion. In these (3) years of management we have worked hard to materialize each of the programs and initiatives that we proposed in the Strategic Plan: Olympic Goal for Panama, this execution has allowed us to achieve our best historical results in the Pan American Games and the best in 50 years in the Central American and Caribbean Games, among many other important sporting achievements.
Likewise, I consider it imperative to highlight the positive, harmonious and respectful relationship for the benefit of the country’s sporting objectives that we have managed to reach consensus and achieve with our government authorities and that has been essential for the achievement of the historic sporting results achieved throughout the Games of this Olympic Cycle.”
You are a prominent lawyer, for the same reason, if there is something that the national sports federations expect from your presidency, it is to put a focus on management and transparency. What footing is the Olympic Committee on?

Damaris Young. (COP)

“Transparency is one of the values of our organization, therefore, throughout our management we have placed special emphasis on ensuring publicity mechanisms that allow anyone to monitor the administrative, operational, sports and financial management of the Panama Olympic Committee. In the transparency section of the online institutional portal of the Panama Olympic Committee, the Reports containing the Participation Reports of the National Delegations participating in the Games of the Olympic Cycle, as well as the Annual Work Reports, were published in a timely manner and are published. which include the respective Reports of their Administrative and Financial areas and the technical analysis.”
By knowing your governance program, you aim for gender equality, giving prominence to the improvement of coaches. How are you advancing these goals in your given timeline?
“The search for gender equality in the sports field is a key element to promote good governance, therefore, for the 2021-2024 management of the Panama Olympic Committee, materialize programs and strategies to promote the incorporation of women in sports in different roles has been a fundamental task, which we have undertaken thanks to the execution of training programs such as Panamá Innova y Emprende for the Leadership of Women in Sports or activities such as the Panam Sport Continental Seminar on Women in Sports that we host in March 2023, and the implementation of internal policies that guarantee minimum quotas for women in the commissions and work groups of our organization.
Regarding the improvement of coaches, and thanks to the sponsorship of Olympic Solidarity, we have undertaken one of the most relevant programs at the level of the academic management of our organization for this four-year period: the creation and implementation of the National Coaches Certification Program of the Olympic Committee of Panama that consists of 3 levels of training: basic, intermediate and advanced, all of which have their respective Manual that constitutes the basis of each of the trainings.
The event of the five Paris rings is the great objective of the countries to comply with the Olympic cycle. What do you expect from your delegation in France?
“In the first instance, that our athletes and the human talent linked to them can fully enjoy the privilege of being in the Olympic Games thanks to the effort, dedication, talent and strength that Panamanians give to each of them. On the other hand, that our athletes and their coaches can achieve the sporting goals for which they have been preparing hard not only in recent years but throughout their lives.”
Does being very close to the United States bring any sporting benefits, I mean bilateral agreements or, well, support from this world power?
“Although, as the National Olympic Committee, we have not yet formalized a Collaboration Agreement with our USOC colleagues, every time we have required their support for different efforts, we have always received immediate and effective attention.
From a sporting point of view, the historical proximity that our country has with the United States of America contributes to providing our athletes with opportunities to combine their higher education while enhancing their sports careers.”

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