Former tennis star Diego Galeano app ointed as new Sports Minister of Paraguay months before the opening of the South American Games

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This Sunday evening, the new sports minister of Paraguay, former tennis player Diego Galeano Harrison, concluded his first tour of each of the venues that have been built and renovated for the South American Games 2022 in Asunción 2022.

With only four months to go until the inauguration of the main sporting event in Paraguay’s history, Galeano, 30, has accepted a great challenge. The Games will be held from October 1 to 15.

Around The Rings heard his first impressions on his journey: “there are works that are going well, they just lack some details, but there are others with delays”, he commented.

Among the delayed constructions are those of the gymnasium and the velodrome.

“We met with all the companies responsible for the works, and with the presidents of the corresponding sports federations. We are clear about where to push the next few weeks in general and, although there are some tight deadlines, we should arrive on time to celebrate some good games, “ said Galeano.

After the surprising resignation of Fátima Morales as head of the National Sports Secretariat (SND) amid tensions due to delays in preparations, the President of the Republic himself, Mario Abdo Benítez, made official on May 25 the new appointment of the well-known local sports figure.

Through his official account on social networks, the president published an image of his meeting with the new minister and a brief text in which he anticipated “the great challenge” assumed by the renowned national athlete.

Galeano confesses that he was surprised by the the offer from the Paraguayan President.

“We had never talked about it. He summed up his intention for me in a couple of phone calls. I was not convinced whether to accept or not. I had never been in the public sector,” says Galeano.

“After consulting with family and friends, I thought it was time to contribute my grain of sand to this important national event. Also, and it was not minor in my analysis, was that I have the support of the president of the COP (Camilo Pérez), with his Executive Committee and the ODESUR Monitoring Commission. And this was a very big point in favor”, Galeano affirmed.

The announcement of the sudden change came when the organizers of the Games came under new scrutiny from the Monitoring Commission of the South American Sports Organization (ODESUR).

It also coincided with the visit in Asunción of the heads of the delegations of the 15 participating countries to exchange information on the progress of the works, the program of competitions, accommodation, transportation, sanitary measures and other details of the logistics of the Games.

At the same time, the new head of the National Sports Secretariat, which is responsible for the largest number of venues for the Games, and among them the most complex, dedicated his first week to meetings with key officials in preparations for the historic mega-event.

Galeano Harrison revealed that in the meeting with the Minister of Finance he was able to be clear about the availability of funds to be able to execute the buildout and processes that these ODESUR Games entail.

“The Treasury expressed its commitment to disbursing all the funding, always understanding that we have a tight, limited budget, with only the minimum to be able to manage and make good Games,” he told ATR.

“In principle there are no concerns over funding.”

Regarding his meeting with the Controller General of the Republic, the sports leader said that it helped him get up to speed on various issues since he comes from the private sphere and “it is the first time that I venture into the public sector, so I must keep up with the new requirements”.

Galeano is an executive in the pharmaceutical industry and graduated in Management in Entrepreneurship from the University of Texas at Waco, (US) in 2015.

As player and captain he appeared in a total of 13 Davis Cup matches with Paraguay, the last in 2018 before his retirement. He competed at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games and the 2011 Guadalajara and 2015 Toronto Pan American Games.

In the Canadian games he won a bronze medal in mixed doubles in pairs with Verٙónica Cepede. In singles he reached the quarterfinals.

Galeano is a member of the Executive Committees of the Paraguayan Tennis Association and the Paraguayan Olympic Committee and chaired its Athletes Commission.

Galeano recalls that in all the Games in which he has participated as an athlete or leader, there has always been tension due to the completion of the works or other organizational aspects.

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