PH hosting of ASEAN Para Games delayed to October
MANILA, Philippines – The 2020 ASEAN Para Games was postponed to October 3 to 9, but under the condition that the coronavirus pandemic is "under control and no longer a threat."
The ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF) Board of Governors approved the new target dates on Monday, March 16.
The Philippines had been slated to host the regional biennial meet for differently-abled athletes from March 21 to 27.
All 11 member nations agreed to the postponement as the surge in coronavirus cases has forced the cancelation of several sports events, while Metro Manila is under lockdown.
The APSF board will discuss the issue again at the end of July "to assess the COVID-19 situation before confirming and proceeding with the proposed new dates for the games."
"APSF is adhering strictly to the guidelines and preventive measures stipulated by the World Health Organization and health authorities to help contain the pandemic in the respective ASEAN nations to protect the health, welfare, and safety of all participating athletes, officials, and contingents," read the statement released on Monday.
According to Team Philippines chef de mission to the ASEAN Para Games Francis Diaz, the training of the para athletes is suspended as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is currently on "restricted access."
Athletes were earlier asked to evacuate their dormitories. However, some para athletes were left behind as the PSC ticketing office wasn't able to secure tickets back to their home destinations, prompting the government sports agency to accommodate them.
While the staging of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics is on the line due to the virus, para swimmer Ernie Gawilan is the only athlete who has qualified for the quadrennial meet.
The Philippines' confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 142 on Monday, with 12 deaths and 3 recoveries.
Globally, there are more than 168,000 confirmed cases while the virus has killed over 6,500 people. – Rappler.com