On December 9, Costa Rican Minister of Sports Carolina Mauri officially inaugurated the VIII Central American Games for Students with Disabilities.

The games will continue today until the 11th with 203 athletes participating from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Included in the competitive sports are goalball, track and swimming.

The event has been organized by the Costa Rican Institute for Sport and Recreation (ICODER) and convened by the Central American Council of Sports and Recreation (CODICADER).

Day 1

Yesterday’s opening ceremony took place at the National Gymnasium in La Sabana. There 2007 competitors Brayan Alban Brenes Castro and Ana Lucia from Turrialba lit the cauldron and kicked off the event. Young Jorge Arce Alfaro Ruiz of Liceo Zarcero provided music and the folkloric dancers of the Liceo de San Roque de Grecia also performed.

Special guests to the ceremony include ICODER’s Alba Quesada, the Costa Rican Ministry of Education’s Alicia Vargas, CODICADER’s Gustavo Arguello of Nicaragua, SISCA’s Anna Heizel Escrich, and El Salvador’s National Sports Institute’s Jorge Quezada.

Following the presentation, the goalball was first on the list of games to compete. Goalball, for those who are not yet familiar, is a team sport designed especially for blind athletes. It’s history goes back to 1946 when Austrian Hanz Lorenzen and German Sepp Reindle developed the game as a means to help rehabilitate visually-impaired World War II veterans.

By the end of the day, Honduras had defeated Panama 20-14 in the men’s division. Honduras also won against Nicaragua in the female division with a knockout score of 11-1. That wasn’t the only landslide, however. El Salvador’s men beat Nicaragua’s 11-1.

Day 2

Today, December 10th, will be filled with games including: 7 games of goalball at the National Gymnasium, 30 track events at the National Stadium, and 14 swimming competitions in the María del Milagro París Pool.

Among those competing will be students between the ages of 16 and 19 who are deaf, have an intellectual impairment, have Down Syndrome, are visually impaired, have cerebral palsy or are in a wheelchair.

Day 3

A similar schedule will continue Friday morning beginning at 7:50am.

The closing ceremony and presentation of champions will be held at 7pm at the National Gymnasium.