The Pan American Flame has been lit in Teotihuacan to start the Santiago 2023 Torch Relay ©Panam Sports

The Pan American Flame has been lit at the Pyramid of the Moon in the pre-Hispanic Mexican city of Teotihuacan, and is set to make its way to Chile's capital Santiago.

Proceedings took place in front of the Pyramid which dates back to between 100 and 450 AD.

Flags of the 41 nations competing at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games were paraded around the site, followed by dancing from 120 performers.

The ignition of the Pan American Flame in a pre-Hispanic barro vessel marks the start of the Santiago 2023 Torch Relay.

This has been the format used for the lighting of the Flame since Mar del Plata 1995, having been moved from the Cerro de la Estrella National Park after Havana 1991 for security reasons.

The Flame, said to represent union, equality and fraternity between the people of the Americas, had been flown from Greece for the inaugural Pan American Games in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires in 1991.

For this year, it is set to be flown to Santiago tonight on the official Latam Airlines Games plane, and be received by Chilean President Gabriel Boric tomorrow.

Three torches are set to be lit at the Cerro Santa Lucia in the heart of Santiago, one travelling north, one south and one to the Isla de Pascua as part of a three-week Torch Relay.

They are set to return to Santiago at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos for the Opening Ceremony on October 20.

Mexican Olympic Committee President María José Alcalá, the Chilean President of Panam Sports Neven Ilic and Chilean Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro were among the guests in attendance at the flame-lighting ceremony.

Mexican diver Alejandra Orozco, Chilean rowing team captain Melita Abraham and her compatriot Tomás González, a six-time Pan American Games gymnastics medallist, attended on behalf of the athletes.

"The ceremony to light the Pan American Flame was absolutely beautiful," said Ilic, an International Olympic Committee member.

"It fills me with pride to see this symbol of the brotherhood we share in the Americas ignited once again.

"It signifies that the process that began many years ago to deliver the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games is nearly complete.

"The Flame will soon arrive in Santiago where it will inspire the entire country to strive for greatness."

Panam Sports President Neven Ilic described the Pan American Flame lighting ceremony as
Panam Sports President Neven Ilic described the Pan American Flame lighting ceremony as "absolutely beautiful" ©Panam Sports

Pizarro, who is also President of the Santiago 2023 Organising Committee, shared his excitement after the lighting of the Flame.

"I am very happy to have lived this experience and that there are just a little more than 20 days left until we welcome the delegations so that they can begin this sports showcase featuring such talent and admiration," he said.

"And for our country in particular, it makes us proud to be able to cheer on our athletes but to also admire, recognise and value the fact that we will have so many countries and delegations in our country."

Preparations for Santiago 2023 have been rocked by an increase in budget, delays in preparations and an investigation into possible irregularities in the running of the Games.

However, Chile is set to stage the Pan American Games for the first time from October 20 to November 5, followed by the Parapan American Games from November 17 to 26.