GUADALAJARA, Mexico, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- The 16th Pan American Games, which will run from Oct. 14-30 in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, will let the whole Mexico enjoy the happiness of sports, said Mexican Sports Minister Bernardo de la Garza on Thursday.
"The Mexicans can see the Pan American Games champions who get the chances to London Olympics with their own eyes. It can encourage the children to do exercise. The people would have found that you can get happiness through sports," Garza told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
The Games attracted 5,500 athletes and 2,000 officials and coaches from 42 countries and regions in North, Central and South America, along with the Caribbean, who will compete in 49 disciplines.
The Mexican government has newly built 23 new stadiums and rebuilt 10 stadiums in Guadalajara for the Pan American Games.
The whole Mexico is expecting the opening ceremony which will be held on Friday night. "We have expectations to have a high level ceremony, just like the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games in 2008," Garza said.
The official also hope the Mexican delegation can do well in the 16th Pan American Games. The Mexicans got 783 medals including 157 gold medals in all previous Pan American Games. They got 23 gold medals in Mar del Plata Games, in Argentina, in 1995, which is the best record in the history.
Garza mentioned the cooperation in sports between Mexico and China. "We have agreements with the Chinese government in diving," he said, mentioning Mexican "diving princess" Paola Espinosa and her Chinese coach Ma Jin. He added that his country also has cooperation with China in developing the disciplines of weightlifting and badminton. "Mexico will launch more sports project cooperation with the sports powers in the world."
Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico, just after Mexico City, the country's capital. The city hosted the 1983 Junior Football World Cup and the 1999 Confederation Cup.