Rafael Santonja wants to make big moves with pro bodybuilding.

International Federation of Fitness and Bodybuilding (IFBB) President Rafael Santonja has announced that he is confident bodybuilding will appear at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, despite its initial omission from the programme. Bodybuilding is due to be contested at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, but was not one of the 39 sports confirmed for the following quadrennial show awarded to Chile’s capital on Saturday.

“We have to work on it – nothing is granted,” Santonja told insidethegames after the 2017 IFBB World Bodybuilding Championships. “Sport is changing and we have to understand and be sensible with the different Organizing Committees. I think we have great values and it is our duty to work with the Organizing Committees to prove that we may be a very successful part of a very attractive programme.

“So we have to rely on our capacity and we have to deal intensively with all the authorities. There are many sports. We are new in this area and we have to do our merits and we have to earn a proper reputation and the respect day by day. I feel very confident that we are going to be in that programme.”

During the Extraordinary General Assembly held in Qatar’s capital Doha in November of last year Bodybuilding was formally approved for inclusion at Lima 2019 during the PanAmSports – formerly known as Pan American Sports Organization. Other non-Olympic sports are set to appear including basque pelota, bowling, racquetball, roller sports and water skiing.

They will be joined by the standard 28 full Olympic sports plus four of the sports added to the Tokyo 2020 programme – baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, and, for the first time, surfing.

Santonja said that the organization did not expect an explanation for why Bodybuilding had been omitted.

“We know that the initial programme is made with the sports that have been [on the programme] longer. We are brand new and still [have a long way] to go because we are going to be in the 2019 [Games] as our debut. Before that, we are going to be in other Games. We are already in the Asian Games, so we are going to put all this information together.”

Santiago was the sole bidder for the 19th edition of the Games, following the withdrawal of Buenos Aires earlier this year.

The decision to confirm the city as hosts was made at the PanAmSports General Assembly in Prague after presentations of Santiago’s proposal and an Evaluation Commission.

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