The hunt for Rio 2016 in the Americas Zone started with the Regional Championships where the teams from South and Central America played in their respective championships for a place at the Parapan American Games which was the qualifier for RIO.
Santiago, Chile hosted the South American Championship between 25th – 20th March, 2014 as part of the South Americas Para Games.
On the women’s side Argentina (2-1), Brazil (3-0), Colombia (0-3) and Peru (1-2) played to be South American champions. Colombia entered a team for the first time and were pleased with the way the team progressed over the tournament. Brazil defeated Argentina for gold, 52-33 with Peru gaining bronze over Colombia, 56-22. Which meant Argentina, Brazil and Peru qualified for Parapan American Games.
On the men’s side Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela played for the three spots at the Parapan American Games in Toronto, Canada. The teams played a round-robin with the top four playing off for the three spots.
In the bronze game Colombia defeated Venezuela, 74 – 42, on the strength of 22 points from Rodney Hawkins and 20 points from Nelson Sanz. It was Nelson Artigas with 11 points and Juan Corrales with 8 points who topped the scoring for Venezuela.
In the gold game Argentina outlasted Brazil, 55 – 47, on the strength of 19 points from Carlos Esteche and 15 from Adolfe Berdun. Leandro de Miranda’s 27 points and 14 points from Marcos Silva was not enough for Brazil.
The Central American Championship was hosted by Costa Rica held between 1st – 6th November in Guatemala City.
In the women’s game there were only three countries, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico who registered so they were given automatic entry to the Parapan’s.
The men’s competition saw eight teams registered Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
The competition was tough for the three spots on the line for the 2015 Parapan-American Games. Two spots were allocated to teams from Central America and the Caribbean and the final spot was a wild-card spot open to any team at the tournament.
The semi-finals saw Venezuela come out on top over Puerto Rico, 91 – 59 and Mexico defeated El Salvador, 57 – 20, to set up a final between Mexico and Venezuela and Puerto Rico and El Salvador. The finals saw Puerto Rico earn their first trip to the Parapanamerican Games defeating El Salvador convincingly. Top scorers for Puerto Rico Kermit Vazquez (12), Carlos Ocasio (18) and Carlos Martenez (23) – for El Salvador Rafael Melgar had 24.
In the Gold medal game Mexico controlled the game from the start leading, 35 – 20, at the half and winning the game, 60 – 47. Top scorers for Mexico were Saul Garcia (16), Efrain Martinez (10) – for Venezuela Luis Marchan (12) and Nelson Solorzano (7).
The results meant Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico would join Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, USA and host country Canada in Toronto at the Parapan Americas in August 2015. Brazil as the Paralympic Games host country automatically had one of the places at Rio 2016 whilst the remaining seven teams played for the two remaining spots.
At the Parapan Americas there were eight women’s teams (Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico) playing for three remaining spots excluding Brazil who automatically qualified as host.
In women’s competition USA claimed gold over Canada (80 – 72) whilst Brazil took bronze over Argentina (49 – 19). Mexico came 5th followed by Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador. USA, Canada and Argentina secure their trips to RIO 2016. (Full results)
In the men’s competition it was the USA who defeated Canada in the final to win Gold (62 – 39) and in the bronze medal game Argentina defeated Brazil (72 – 47) for Bronze. Colombia finished 5th followed by Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. USA and Canada qualified to play in Rio. (Full Results)
Americas will be represented at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by four women’s teams Argentina , Canada and USA with Brazil in as host country and for the men it is Canada and USA qualifying through with Brazil in as host country.