The 23rd National Sports Games (Juegos Deportivos Nacionales), which were to be held January 5-15, had their dates changed to March 1-16 for the cantons of Guanacaste and the southern Zona Sur. In Nicoya, the games will take place March 2-6, which will allow for changes to the internal structure of the sports complex (Polideportivo), the facility for the water sports competitions.
In addition to the swimming events in Nicoya, Guanacaste will host other sports, such as track and field in Tilaran; basketball, skateboarding, tennis and baseball in Cañas; volleyball and martial arts in Abangares; weight-lifting and women’s soccer in Carrillo; and cycling and table tennis in Bagaces.
The Costa Rican Sports and Recreation Institute (ICODER –Instituto Costarricense de Deporte y Recreación) set aside 35 million colones ($70,000) to spend on improvements to Nicoya’s sports complex, where all water sports will take place.
According to Oliver Perez, spokesperson for the Nicoya Municipality, the works consist of repairing filters, lights, beams, ropes, electrical systems, showers, etc. and they expect to host some 600 athletes.
Robert Araya, an employee of the administration department of Nicoya Canton’s Sports Committee, indicated that male athletes will stay in the facilities of the Nicoya Technical Professional High School (CTP – Colegio Técnico Profesional), while women will stay at Leonidas Briceño School.
According to Araya, the exact number of Nicoyan swimmers who will compete during the games is still uncertain, since another final classifying round will be held sometime during this month. That’s when the number will be defined.
Currently the Nicoyan team is made up of 16 swimmers who are also part of the Nicoyan Swimming Association (Asociación Nicoyana de Natación) and who hope to compete in butterfly, breast, freestyle and back stroke.
Track and Field is Gold
However, track and field is the sport in which Nicoya has had the best results in recent years, earning 20 medals in the Games in Desamparados in 2012.
Haydee Grijalba Chavarria is one of the most well-rounded Nicoyan athletes and was selected as a featured woman athlete in the 2012 games for winning four gold medals in shot put, javelin and discus throw as well as the 4 x 100 relay.
Grijalba, who recently traveled to Nicaragua and Guatemala, where she won a silver medal in the javelin throw in the 21st International Track and Field Competition, told The Voice that this year she is training hard with the hope of repeating or improving her scores.
“I’m training on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the Nicoya sports complex and also at the soccer field in San Vicente,” the athlete said.
For his part, Araya explained that more than 30 Nicoyan athletes will compete in track and field this year. “It’s the sport we do best in and in which we hope to win the most medals,” he affirmed.