Sunday, August 01, 2021

Balais urges para-athletes to stay positive

DESPITE the cancelation of the country’s hosting of the 10th Asean Para-Games, Cebuano Arnold Balais has a piece of advice to fellow para-athletes and this is to stay positive and just look at the bright side.

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) recently announced that the Philippines is now canceling the hosting of the Asean Para-Games after several postponements due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The decision to cancel the hosting was in line with the PSC’s stand that it will not hold any of its sports events this year until a coronavirus vaccine will be widely distributed.

The Asean Para-Games is a biennial multi-sporting conclave for the differently abled athletes in the Southeast Asian region.

“We just have to stay positive and just look at the bright side of this crisis,” said renowned para-athlete Balais, who captained the Philippine Accessible Disability Services Inc. (Pads) Dragon Boat Team in the 14th IDBF World Dragonboat Racing Championship last year in Thailand, where they made history as the first world Para-Dragon boat champion.

Balais said the news of the 10th Asean Para-Games saddened him but it’s for the safety of every athlete and the people involved.

“You feel sad but when you look at the situation now; canceling the hosting is the right move because the safety of everyone is the primary priority in this Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

“Anyway, our hard work did not go to waste since it has also helped us to stay in shape. There are still a lot of games waiting for us para-athletes when the situation will go back to normal,” added Balais, who was supposed to represent the country in the para-triathlon event.

In a statement, PPC president Michael Barredo said at this moment, sports must take a back seat to address a greater issue.

“While this is disheartening news for our local and Asean para-athletes, who have trained and sacrificed so much to represent their respective countries, their health, and safety as well as their coaches, members of their team, and families, remain our top priority. We understand that this is a global concern and this is a very difficult decision to do,” he said.

“Altogether, the hosting of the Asean Para-Games by the Philippines is currently not feasible without government support. We will send a communication to the Asean Para Sports Federation (APSF) on the present situation so that its Board of Governors may decide on the fate of the APG,” he added.

He told the para-athletes to continue to train their minds and bodies during this pandemic and not lose sight of their goals.

PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said the cancelation of the Asean Para-Games hosting is also part of the agency’s belt-tightening funding measures. He said the money that would have been used to stage the event would be channeled to support members of the national team and programs in fighting the global health crisis. (RSC)


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