As part of Malaysia hosting the 9th Asean Para Games 2017, the 15th Asean Para Sports Federation board of governors’ meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur and chaired by Paralympic Council of Malaysia president SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin.
Delegates from Asean member countries, except Brunei, attended the meeting where the main objective was to agree on the proposed sports and events for the 9th Asean Para Games 2017.
The games will be held in August 2017 in Kuala Lumpur and Pulau Langkawi, with all 10 Asean countries and Timor Leste participating.
“The games represent the best platform for Malaysian athletes to achieve their greatest potential and showcase paralympic medal-winning performances.
“As Malaysia hosts the games for the third time next year, we are prepared to take the management of the games to greater heights and provide the appropriate support systems for our athletes to participate in an environment that brings out their best,” said Nasaruddin, who is also Naza Group of Companies joint group executive chairman and group chief executive officer.
Sixteen sports was proposed and agreed to by the board of governors. They are aquatic swimming, archery, athletics, badminton, wheelchair basketball, boccia, cycling road (tandem), cycling track, football seven–a-side, football five-a-side, goalball, sailing, table tennis, tenpin bowling, wheelchair tennis, volleyball sitting and powerlifting.
There will be 387 events offering 387 gold medals for the 16 sports.
The other objective was for the board of governors to adopt the proposal by the Malaysian Government for the Asean Para Sports 2017 and SEA Games 2017 to be held concurrently.
In making the proposal, Nasaruddin said it would be the first time such an initiative would be taken on by Asean countries and also the first time in the world such an initiative has been adopted for a major regional sports event.
The proposal recommended a common opening and closing ceremonies for both games.
This meant both games would be held concurrently during the period.
Some of the sports events would take place concurrently at the same venue while other sports events would be subjected to programming so as not to clash with each other.
Also, some sports would be held at different venues that are para sports friendly.
The proposal by the board of governors now awaits final approval by the Malaysian Government after the SEA Games federation holds its final meeting in July.
The initiative will be a major effort taken by the Government to promote unity and equality through sports.
Apart from huge cost savings, such an initiative will elevate Para sports to a higher level befitting the aspirations of various national athletes as they are accorded the status of national Para athlete.