The Jakarta Post
The ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF) has announced the cancellation of the 10th ASEAN Para Games (APG) in the Philippines, following Manila’s withdrawal from hosting the event because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The largest sporting event for disabled athletes in Southeast Asia was initially scheduled to run from Oct. 3 to 9.
“In light of the decision of the Philippines Sports Commission [PSC], I must regretfully inform you that the 10th ASEAN Para Games are officially canceled,” APSF president Osoth Bhavilai said in a letter addressed to Southeast Asian National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) on Friday.
Bhavilai said the APSF is taking steps to hold a virtual APSF board of governors meeting to discuss the cancelation and other additional measures.
“Nevertheless, the APSF would like to thank the Philippines for all efforts taken prior to the games for the preparation. We appreciate why such a decision needed to be made,” Bhavilai said.
On April 30, PSC chairman William I. Ramirez said in a letter that the commission decided to withdraw its financial support for hosting the event, citing “the present health crisis and the directives of the national government”.
The letter cited a PSC Board Secretary IV resolution stating that sporting activities set to be held in 2020, including the APG, would be canceled.
Following the letter, Philippine ASEAN Para Games Organizing Committee (PHILAPGOC) president Mike Barredo said the PSC needed to cut and reallocate its budget to help the government mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Indonesian Youth and Sports Ministry secretary Gatot Sulistiantoro Dewa Broto said the decision to cancel the para games was understandable, as the COVID-19 pandemic had also forced many international sporting events, including the Olympic Games and Indonesia's National Games (PON), to be delayed or canceled.
“We hope that we can settle the implementation plan at the upcoming virtual ASEAN Para Games board meeting,” Gatot told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Indonesian NPC deputy secretary-general Rima Ferdianto told the Post that the committee would hold a meeting on Monday to discuss the cancelation.
Prior to the cancelation, the 2020 ASEAN Para Games had been postponed twice. The event was initially scheduled to be held earlier this year but was delayed to March due to a lack of materials in host country Philippines.
In February, the APG was postponed again due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which had started to spread in the region, with Manila confirming the October schedule following a coordination meeting with Southeast Asian NPCs.