By Vikneswaran Raman
KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 -- The 10th edition of the ASEAN Para Games (APG) will potentially see another round of debate as to when it can be held due to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM) secretary-general, Datuk R. Subramaniam said prior to this, Oct 3-9 was fixed after all ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF) members agreed for the Games to be held after the Olympics, which was earlier scheduled from July 24 to Aug 9.
But now that the Olympics and Paralympics now have been moved to 2021 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Subramaniam predicts that the Philippines APG could suffer the same fate as well.
“There will be another meeting to discuss the latest development. Some countries are uncomfortable with too many postponements as the whole excitement could be lost.
“APG cannot be pushed further because it will be too close to the Vietnam SEA Games and the next APG in 2021. Moreover, once the COVID-19 crisis settles, we have to ensure the athletes start all over again from conditioning to training,” he told Bernama.
The Philippines APG was supposed to be held from Jan 18-24, but was postponed to March 20-28 due to budget and logistics issues on the part of the organisers, before being postponed yet again as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, Subramaniam said the Tokyo Paralympics will be the highest priority for PCM once the Movement Control Order (MCO) ends on April 14, after the Sukma Para Games scheduled from Aug 11-22 in Johor, is also set to be moved.
“For now, we only have four athletes who have qualified for Tokyo, while many other athletes are still trying to book their spots. Since most of the qualifying tournaments have been postponed due to COVID-19, everything is on pause.
“Once the situation gets back to normal after MCO ends on April 14th, we will need about two to three months to reassess the situation and prepare the athletes. We have to ensure our athletes are in top condition and able to compete against other best athletes around the world to qualify,” he said.
The retired First Admiral also confirmed that none of the national para athletes have reported any symptoms of COVID-19 or disease so far, this after all the athletes were asked to vacate their hostels and return to their hometowns after the MCO came into force last week.
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