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Games promote cross border understanding Ernesto Lopez | Fri, May 21 2010 09:10 AM

About 1,400 young athletes from Chula Vista and northern Baja California took over Mater Dei High School May 15 as part of the third annual International Friendship Games, hosted by the city of Chula Vista.

At the opening ceremony, City Councilman Rudy Ramirez said this event is prominent because of the border region.

"We live on this border, one of the most famous borders in the world, and because of that this event has become a powerful thing," he told the crowd of parents, athletes and supporters. "Other borders may cause daunting things, not us; here in Chula Vista we bring people together, " he said.

A representative for the mayor of Rosarito said the International Games benefit youth and adults from both sides of the border.

"This activity will help strengthen ties of friendship between both regions," said Andres Luna. "We are thankful for the invitation as this is our first year participating. We are really excited and we promise to come back next year."

Luna added that 15 athletes from Rosarito crossed the U.S. border for the first time. Children who did not have Mexican passports were granted special permits by immigration.

At the event there were also teams from Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada and Tecate.

"It was an interesting experience to play volleyball with girls from Mexico," 11- year-old volleyball player Alex Hightower said. "We were separated by our language, cause you know they speak Spanish and we speak English, but the game brought us together; that's neat."

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