ation invested $30 million in regional sports competition

Casa Presidencial photo
President Chinchilla witnesses the passage of the Central
American games flame to Costa Rica.

With the torch making the rounds of Costa Rican communities, San José officials are putting the finishing touches on facilities for the 10th Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos that begins March 3 and runs until March 17.

The central government says the nation has invested $30 million in infrastructure.

President Laura Chinchilla and San José Mayor Johnny Araya Monge are the principal forces behind the effort. Both helped the country win approval to hold the games in July 2010 from the Organización Deportiva Centroamericana.

The torch representing the spirit of the games arrived Saturday in Paso Canoas and was greeted by the president and Araya. Ms. Chinchilla offered sports as a way to combat violence and insecurity.

The administration has put a lot of the infrastructure in areas that are considered low income. For example, Hatillo 2 on the south side of the capital is where a sports city has been constructed. There is a gym that can seat 5,200 persons and an olympic-size pool and four racquetball courts.

In Cristo Rey, a San José´barrio, the gym at the Liceo del Sur has been refurbished and the baseball park Antonio Escarré has seen improvements. Gymnasiums in San Sebastián and San Franciso de Dos Ríos also have been fixed up to serve as locations for some of the sports. Of course, the new Estadio Nacional will have a role, too.

Organizers of the games say that 2,757 athletes from seven countries will participate, and 567 will come from Costa Rica. They said they expect 10,000 tourists to come to the Central Valley because of the games.

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