Central American sports games will be inaugurated March 3

The Olympic games may be over, but Costa Rica is gearing up for Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos set to begin March 3 at 7 p.m. in the Estadio Nacional in Parque la Sabana.

True to the Olympic style, runners will pass a torch through the country. Panamá will transfer the flame to Costa Rica at the Paso Canoas border. Panamá hosted the last games.

From the border, the torch will tour the nation going through Pérez Zeledón, Puntarenas, Liberia, San Carlos, Pococí, Limón, Cartago, Tarrazú, San Ramón, Alajuela, Heredia, Goicochea, and the San José neighborhoods of El Carmen, Zapote, San Francisco, Hospital, San Sebastian, Hatillo, Pavas, Uruca, Merced and Catedral.

The destination will be the national stadium at 7 p.m. for the lighting of the caldron at the opening ceremony. More than 4,000 athletes from around Central America will also walk the track, before they make history and win medals at the 10th games.

The theme of the games, will be the phrase that many Costa Ricans use as second nature, Pura Vida. To natives it means more than just pure life, but is a response that symbolizes the laid back Tico culture that makes the best of everything.

It is a phrase that recognizes us in any part of the world, said Jorge Villalobos of the organizing committee.

The entire spectacle will cost the country $1.5 million. In total 1,410 artists will participate, including a performance by Debi Nova. Ms. Nova is a singer-songwriter and dancer from Escazú. She has worked with artists such as Ricky Martin, Brittany Spears, will.i.am and Boney James.

Also on the stage will be the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil, Humberto Vargas, winner of the festival Viña del Mar, Maribel Guardia and the soprano Sofía Corrales. The producer of the games will be the artist Delia Piccirilli, and Alfonso Gallego will be project manager. Marcela Aguilar will be the coordinator of the choreography and Horacio Prado the costume designer, said a release.

Tickets for the inauguration vary from $30 to $50 depending on stadium location. Persons who use Banco Nacional and Banco de Costa Rica cards to buy tickets receive up to a $5 discount.

Those who wish can buy them online at www.specialticket.net.

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