Mike Barredo
Mike Barredo lays out ASEAN Para Games program
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo said yesterday he’s been assured by PSC chairman Butch Ramirez of all-out support for the staging of the 10th ASEAN Para Games here on Jan. 18-25 next year with former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano as chairman of the Organizing Committee and Sen. Sonny Angara as a member of the Advisory Council.

Barredo said he expects some 1,500 para athletes from the Southeast Asian region’s 11 countries to participate in more than 400 events of 16 sports with the New Clark City as the main sports hub. Subic and selected venues in Metro Manila will also be tapped for events.

The 16 sports are archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, chess, cycling, CP (cerebral palsy) football, goalball, judo, powerlifting, swimming, 10-pin bowling, table tennis, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and para triathlon. Barredo said in the previous ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur two years ago, there were 1,421 athletes and some 800 team officials. “Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia will likely come with full complements, meaning participants in all 16 sports,” he said. “That will mean anywhere between 200 to 300 para athletes for each country. As host, we plan to deploy a full complement, too. The challenge is to gather para athletes in team sports. We’re holding the National Para Games in May and we hope to discover more talents.”

Barredo explained that the classification of athletes, depending on their disabilities, requires expert evaluators. “The four basic categories are wheelchair users, those with cerebral palsy, intellectually impaired and visually impaired,” he said. “Under visually impaired, for instance, there are three sub-categories, totally blind, cannot see beyond six feet and cannot see beyond 15 feet. That’s why we’ve got more than 400 events because we want to give every para athlete a chance to compete in a level playing field for males and females. We’ll bring in experts from abroad and tap our best doctors – ophthalmologists, orthopedic surgeons, psychologists – to certify the disabilities.”

Barredo said at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, it was discovered that 10 of the 12 para athletes on the Spanish gold medal basketball team were not disabled two weeks after the competition. The Spanish team was disqualified and the para athletes were ordered to return their gold medals. 

Barredo said the PSC has committed to give P100 Million for the preparatory stage of the Para Games. He estimated a budget of P350 to 500 Million for the execution. “No pin-down budget yet,” said Barredo. “But we’ll need to provide for the competition equipment and fly in technical officials. Areas where we can’t compromise on expenses are transportation, food, accommodations, standards of playing venues and technical officiating.”

Barredo said integration with PHISGOC (Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee) has been accomplished with at least seven Paralympic officials involved in the 13 identified functions. “I’ve attended alignment meetings myself and we’re proceeding,” he continued. “We’re identifying certain systems that may be extended from the SEA Games to the Para Games. From the Paralympic Committee end, we’re multi-tasking. We’re looking at venues in the SEA Games that may be used as venues for the Para Games with some adjustments in accessibility for para athletes. We’re fortunate that the venues for swimming and athletics aren’t far from the Athletes Village in Clark. We’re looking at common IT systems, timing mechanisms and equipment. In field events like archery and CP football, we’ll need accessible portable toilets. Our buses will need to be reconfigured where half of the seats are to be removed and ramps installed. Some delegations may fly in on chartered flights at Clark but others may land in NAIA so we’ll need specialized buses to transport them to Clark.”

Barredo said he’s appealing to the private sector to support the Para Games. “We’ve sent out letters requesting financial assistance from the San Miguel Group, the MVP Group, the Ayala Group, the SM Group, the Megaworld Group, the Gokongwei Group and other big business conglomerates known for their generosity and social consciousness,” he said. “This is our chance to showcase the best of the Philippines in an international Para Games. We don’t only want to deliver a good performance in competition but also a good performance in hosting the Para Games.”

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