Asean Para Games finds willing host in Indonesia
Called off twice since the COVID-19 global pandemic began, the Asean Para Games has found a savior in Indonesia, which offered to host the gathering of the finest para athletes in the Southeast Asian region.
The country, however, will need to resolve its issue with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) before it can fully pursue its plans.
Indonesia came forward and expressed interest in holding the Games during a virtual emergency meeting of the Asean Para Sports Federation (APSF) Board of Governors, which officially endorsed the cancellation of the 11th Asean Para Games in Hanoi by the Vietnam government.
The Philippines was also left with no choice but to shelve the Games last year because of the ongoing health crisis.
“Two successive cancellations in Manila and Hanoi would be a very big blow to the development of para sports in the Southeast Asian region and greatly dampen the spirit of our Asean para athletes,’’ said Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo.
“These para athletes look to these Games as the first step in their pathway to the Paralympics,’’ added Barredo, also the vice president of the Asian Paralympic Committee.
Indonesia successfully hosted the Asian Para Games (Asiad) back in 2018 where Team Philippines fared pretty well by ranking 12th out of 44 countries after collecting 10 gold medals, eight silvers and 11 bronzes.
Barredo pointed out that hosting the 11th Asean Para Games will be crucial leading to the preparation for the 2022 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China, in October.
The APSF Board of Governors acknowledged Indonesia’s proposal and has instructed that the relevant procedures and due processes be adhered to and resolved, which include proof of support from its government as well as the Wada noncompliant issue.
It can be recalled that the Wada sanctioned Indonesia and Thailand, along with North Korea, for noncompliance of effective testing programs and failure to fully comply with the 2021 Wada Anti-Doping Code.
Based on the Wada decision, these countries are prohibited from hosting any regional, continental and world tournaments.
The APSF board has given Indonesia until the end of this year to submit all the necessary documents, requirements and preparation plans to take over the hosting job from Vietnam.
Careful deliberation covering all aspects of preparation including accommodation, classification, doping, technical and sports issues, facilities, COVID-19 health and safety measures will be conducted by the APSF.
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