ASEAN Para Games canceled due to pandemic

By Hoang Nguyen   May 3, 2020 | 08:00 pm PT
ASEAN Para Games canceled due to pandemic
Vietnamese weightlifter Nguyen Binh An wins gold medal in ASEAN Para Games 9 in Malaysia on September 18, 2017. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
The Philippines has announced the cancellation of the 2020 ASEAN Para Games owing to lack of funds due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

It had earlier postponed the multi-sport event for disabled athletes twice. After hosting the SEA Games in December last year the country was supposed to host the Para Games in January, but pleaded financial problems to move it to March. It postponed the event again to May when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has cut the entire budget meant for the Para Games as an emergency financial measure. PSC president William Ramirez said the money would instead be used to help athletes during the pandemic period.

The Philippines has had the third largest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia of over 9,000 and more than 600 deaths.

"The hosting of the APG by the Philippines is currently not feasible without government support," Ramirez told the media.

"Our hearts and prayers go to our local and ASEAN para-athletes and the entire Paralympic community, and those who have toiled and labored for the past two years," he said.

Now the region’s disabled athletes, including Vietnamese, have to stop training and return to their daily life, and wait for the 2020 Paralympics, which will take place in 2021 summer in Japan, and the ASEAN Para Games in Vietnam in December 2021.

Vietnam aims for 10-12 slots in the 2020 Paralympics. Five have already qualified, four swimmers and a runner.

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