e4cf2c_2e67af34e0b04bfb99fbf6b7899e1453Athletes from as many as many as 16 North, South and Central American countries and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico are to compete this weekend in the 2016 Pan American Championships at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park in their last chance to qualify to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August.

The championships for the sprint canoe/kayak events are to take place from Thursday through Sunday at the same venue that the kayaking and canoeing events took place during the 1996 Olympic Games. It remains the only venue from the 1996 Olympics that is still being used for its original purpose.

An extensive renovation of the park has been taking place in anticipation of the championships, which also will include qualifying events for the World Championships that include teams composed of younger athletes.

The Pan American Canoe Federation selected the Lake Lanier venue over competing bids from Montreal and Curitiba, Brazil.

Athletes from the following countries and territory are to compete in the trials: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala,Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

For the official website for the events, click here.