Double Olympic tennis gold medallist Nicolas Massu is one of six Ambassadors named for the Pan American Games ©Santiago 2023

Chile’s double Olympic tennis gold medallist Nicolas Massu has been named as one of the first six Ambassadors for the Pan American Games in Santiago.

"I want to support, I want to be there for what they need, both from my experience as an athlete and as a coach," Massu said.

Massu won gold in both singles and doubles at the Athens 2004 Olympics and is also Chile’s Davis Cup captain.

"It is important for the new generations to see the relevance of these Games and see that the whole country is united by filling the stadiums and going to watch sports and all of the different disciplines so they can enjoy something so beautiful," he said.

The group also includes Robinson Menendez who has competed in both Para tennis and Para canoeing in a distinguished career.

"It is a pride to have experienced four Paralympic Games as well as four Parapan American Games, today being named an Ambassador for our Games in Chile makes me proud," Menendez said.

"I want to invite all of Chile and all the people to go watch and encourage our athletes."

Swimmer Kristel Kobrich, who won 800 metres freestyle gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara has also been nominated.

Also named is Cuban-born wrestler Yasmani Acosta, who won bronze in the Greco-Roman 130 kilograms division in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima when representing Chile for the first time.

Santiago 2023 organisers expect to name more Ambassadors before the Games begin ©Santiago 2023
Santiago 2023 organisers expect to name more Ambassadors before the Games begin ©Santiago 2023

Organisers have also chosen Francisca Mardones who competed in Para tennis at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympics, while Sammis Reyes, the first Chilean to play in the National Football League has also been selected.

More names are expected to be announced before the Games begin.

"Our Ambassador programme not only represents something symbolic, but also reflects all the values that we want to be represented at Santiago 2023," Chilean Sports Minister Alexandra Benado said.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to showcase to the world what it means to be Chilean men and women and I have no doubt that our Ambassadors will reflect that."

Chile expects to field around 700 athletes at the Pan American Games and Parapan American Games.

"We are convinced that sport can change Chilean youth," Chilean Olympic Committee President Miguel Angel Mujica said.

"We are going to have 700 Chilean athletes competing at home, that will help make sport attractive for many boys and girls and mothers and fathers and encourage them to practice sport."

The Pan American Games are set to run from October 20 to November 5 and are due to feature 39 sports.

They will be followed by the Parapan American Games, scheduled from November 17 to 26, and due to feature 17 sports.