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Next month's Asean Para Games postponed to March

The Asean Para Games (APG), originally to be held from Jan 18-24 in the Philippines next year, has been postponed to March due to budget issues.

Arnold Agustin, head of the Philippine Sports Commission, raised concerns about the funding and proposed that the Philippine Paralympic Committee and Asean Para Games Organizing Committee, headed by Michael Barredo, reschedule the multi-sport event to March 20-28.

“As such, in pursuit of polished and seamless staging of the 2020 Asean Para Games, it is with heavy heart that we recommend that the staging of the games to be postponed and be held at a later date,” Agustin said.

Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) chairman Kevin Wong expressed disappointment at the decision.

The Republic had intended to send 61 para-athletes in 12 sports, but that number could change as the new dates could clash with their schedules.

Said Wong: “It’s unfortunate and quite disappointing that the Games is being postponed less than a month away. There had been discussions and planning leading up to the Games, and the host could have highlighted any issues earlier.

"I believe countries have already committed budget and expense to travel for the Games. Any delay would have some financial consequences.

"In addition, moving the Games to March would affect preparations for the Paralympics in Tokyo 2020 and even qualifications for some athletes, who might have to go for other competitions. The decision has been made and we will have to respect it, and plan for the Games in March.”

The news came as a surprise to national para-archer and world No. 1 Nur Syahidah Alim.

She said: “I was surprised when I was informed about the postponement as I did not expect such change within short notice.”

Syahidah added that it may affect athletes' training plans, especially for those who are trying to qualify for next year's Tokyo Paralympics from Aug 25 to Sept 6, but she remains optimistic despite the sudden changes.

“I strongly believe that the coaches and relevant bodies (i.e. Singapore Sport Institute and SNPC) will work together to relook at the training plans and make the necessary adjustment.

"While this change does not deter me from delivering my best at the Games, I am also certain that TeamSG athletes will do the same and remain positive”.