Brunei to miss ASEAN Para Games following cancellation

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam will not be able to take part in the 10th ASEAN Para Games in Manila, the Philippines after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Para Sports Federation (APSF) announced the cancellation of the event recently.

The Philippines Sports Commission (PSC) withdrew its funds meant for the Games and the budget will be realigned towards the country’s efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The biggest multi-sport competition in the region for disabled athletes was scheduled to be held from October 3-9 after two earlier postponements.

APSF President Osoth Bhavilai confirmed the cancellation in a letter addressed to the Southeast Asian National Paralympic Committees.

“In light of the decision of the Philippines Sports Commission (PSC), I must regretfully inform you that the 10th ASEAN Para Games are officially cancelled,” the letter reads.

Philippines Paralympic Committee President Michael Barredo expressed his frustration on the cancellation.

He said, “Altogether, the hosting of the APG by the Philippines is currently not feasible without government support.”

Prior to the cancellation, a final decision was supposed to be made in a meeting, which would be attended by APSF Board of Governors at the end of July to assess the situation before confirming and proceeding with the Games.

Brunei accumulated two gold medals, six silver medals and six bronze during the previous edition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.

The country’s haul of two gold medals came in bowling and athletics with the partnership of Kamarul Ariffin bin Haji Abdul Ghaffar and Saidin bin Haji Damit emerging victorious in the men’s doubles and Alihan Muda winning the discus throw event.

Para bowling continued to be one of Brunei’s strengths as Kamarul Ariffin and Saidin bagged consecutive gold medals in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Brunei’s best performance in the ASEAN Para Games came in 2009 in Kuala Lumpur when they won nine gold medals, five silver and eight bronze.

Last December, the national para athletes were seen doing strength and conditioning training at the stadium’s gym as they enhanced their preparations for the now-cancelled Games.

The national para bowling team also stepped up their preparations through their participation at the World Bowling Para Tour in Manila last November.