ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF) will wait for an official confirmation from hosts Vietnam before stating its official stand on the possible postponement of this year’s ASEAN Para Games, originally scheduled in Hanoi in December.
APSF acknowledges the dire situation and challenges faced by Vietnam to ensure the health and safety of Para athletes and contingents following the rise of Covid-19 cases in the region.
“APSF hopes that any decision on the status of the Hanoi Games should take into consideration the overall safety of not only athletes and contingents, but the welfare and safety of the masses in general,” said APSF president Major General Osoth Bhavilai today.
Maj Gen Bhavilai reiterates APSF’s commitment in ensuring opportunities for athletes to compete in a highly-competitive Games such as the ASEAN Para Games, especially after the cancellation of the Manila Games last year.
“At the same time, we need to also look into the huge challenges and readiness of Hanoi to cope and ensure the safety of all participants and the masses in general following the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases around the region which led to an unpredictable situation,” he said.
“After the cancellation of the Manila Games last year, it is simply unfortunate that we are now faced with a similar situation. We are adopting a wait and see approach and will only make an official stand after consultation with our member-nations and stakeholders,” he said.
APSF, according to Maj. Gen. Bhavilai, is in contact with the Vietnam ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee (VIEAPGOC) and aware of the current situation in Hanoi which could eventually lead to the postponement of the Games.
It was recently reported that Vietnam has proposed to postpone the 31st Southeast Asia Games and the 11th ASEAN Para Games due to the pandemic.
The SEA Games Federation (SEAGF) had convened virtual meetings to seek feedback from all 11 nations with majority of the its members rejecting the postponement proposal. Vietnam is expected to decide on the status of both Games in the coming weeks.
Following the cancellation of the 10th ASEAN Para Games in Manila last year, nations and athletes are looking forward to the Hanoi Games after last seeing action in 2017 in the Kuala Lumpur Games.
“Preparations for the 2021 Games are still ongoing with APSF secretariat and VIEAPGOC embarking on a series of virtual meetings since early this year to coordinate operations in various functional areas including sports and technical, classification and anti-doping and other administration and organisational matters,” said Maj. Gen. Bhavilai, adding that APSF will act accordingly to the needs and benefits of its members and to ensure continuous development of para-sports and movement in the region.
Vietnam is scheduled to host the ASEAN Para Games for only the second time after 18 years. The country last hosted the second edition of the Games in 2003 where only five sports were contested then.
A total of 11 sports have been confirmed for the Hanoi Games. In the last Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, 16 sports were contested while the cancelled 10th edition in Manila was supposed to feature 16 sports.