Board moves Para Games to October

THE country’s hosting of the 10th Asean Para Games, a multi-sporting biennial meet involving para-athletes from the Southeast Asian region that is usually held immediately after the Southeast Asian Games, has been moved to the latter part of the year in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo said the Asean Para Sports Federation (APSF) Board of Governors has tentatively moved the games to Oct. 3 to 9, 2020, with conditions that the Covid-19 pandemic is put under control and no longer a threat to humans.

Majority of the APSF Board opted for an Oct. 3 opening of the games and an Oct. 9 closing ceremony, after eight of the 10 member-countries of the APSF board, the federation’s highest decision-making body, convened in an emergency meeting via video conference to deliberate the status of the sporting conclave.

Representatives from Myanmar and Brunei were not able to join due to technical difficulties.

“Each came up with their respective opinions, most of them are affirmative. However, there were uncertainties. There were questions about Covid-19 and what are we going to do,’’ said Barredo.

The board has agreed to convene again by the end of July to assess the Covid-19 situation before confirming and proceeding with the proposed new dates.

The event will have 17 sports that will be played in New Clark City, Subic and Metro Manila.

When sought for comment, Cebuano para-athlete Arnold Balais said he hopes the games will push through in October.

The Asean Para Games was first scheduled on Jan. 18 to 24 but was postponed due to budget constraints and logistics issues. The second schedule was on March 20 to 28 but has been postponed yet again because of the ongoing health pandemic.

“At least we have more time to train and the body can still recover,” said Balais, who is tapped to represent the country in the para-triathlon competition.

The global pandemic has forced the postponement and cancellation of several major sporting events and tournaments around the world. (RSC)