Para athletes seek financial support for ASEAN buildup

JR Isaga
The Philippine Paralympic Committee hopes the differently abled athletes set to compete in the 10th ASEAN Para Games will get ample aid

 FOR A CAUSE. Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) head Michael Barredo encourages Filipinos to donate to the mobile donation drive “Alay Para Atleta.” Photo by JR Isaga/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – As the Philippines hosts the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in 2019, the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) hopes the country’s hosting of the 10th ASEAN Para Games (APG) in 2020 won’t be overlooked. 

The APG gets going right after the SEA Games, and while the infrastructure of the sports hub at Clark City in Tarlac looks to be on track, PPC head Michael Barredo said the para athletes have special needs that must be addressed.

Barredo said the differently abled athletes are hoping for better facilities and training camps, but more importantly, competition-ready prosthetics and mobility aid equipment such as wheelchairs and crutches.

“[While] the sports commission does provide funds, especially for the year-round training allowances of our athletes in the national pool and the equipment they need for the purpose of participating in these events internationally, [we still need] more wheelchairs and more training like training camps for everyone all over the Philippines, not just in the national pool,” said Barredo.

The PPC had launched “Alay Para Atleta” (Aid for Para Athletes), a mobile donation drive for the country’s para athletes that aims to alleviate the cost of their ASEAN campaign.   

“We need to reach as many Filipinos as possible to contribute to and buy into the Paralympic movement by donating [around P10 to P500] using the digital format,” said Barredo.

Donors can simply text ALAYPARA<amount> to 3456 for all major cellular networks. Example: ALAYPARA50

The initiative has already been lauded and supported by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons, who recently came to the country for the ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF) conference.

Barredo hopes with the additional aid from private individuals, the Philippines will amass more medals in the next Para Games after a 5th-place finish last year in Malaysia where the country bagged 69 medals (20 gold, 20 silver and 29 bronze).

The haul paled in comparison to the top 3 juggernauts in host Malaysia (258 medals), Indonesia (251) and Thailand (236).

These countries also hold a sizeable lead in all-time Para Games medals, with Thailand boasting a 2,396 total, Malaysia with 1,777 and Indonesia with 1,278. The Philippines ranks 6th all-time with a medal haul of 542. –