Dubai: Majid Rashid Al Usaimi, the President of the Asian Paralympic Committee, has urged equal and fair treatment for para-athletes especially during the current challenging times.
Addressing members of the APC Executive Board during a series of virtual meetings held over two days earlier this week, Al Usaimi said all sporting bodies should be able to rise to the current challenges facing sport.
“This pandemic has been the greatest challenge that our world has seen for decades and the economic effects of it are likely to last far longer than the immediate health crisis,” Al Usaimi told members from across the continent.
“All funders of sport have huge pressure on their budgets, particularly in developing nations, but in future funding decisions, we call for the equal treatment of para-athletes with their Olympic counterparts.”
Founded in Busan, South Korea, the APC is headquartered in Abu Dhabi with Al Usaimi replacing Zainal Abu Zarin of Malaysia in 2014. The APC, that is affiliated to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has 44 National Paralympic Committees from across Asia. The Asian Para Games and the Asian Youth Para Games announced earlier this week to be held in Bahrain from December 1-10, 2021.
“Challenge, and how we respond to it, is part of the identity of the Paralympic Movement,” Al Usaimi said. “This meeting has heard many stories of how our NPCs and athletes have responded to the pandemic challenge. They have remained positive and made the most of very difficult circumstances.
“As countries slowly emerge from the measures put in place to combat the pandemic, it is really important that para-athletes are supported to pick up where they left off. That way they can continue to demonstrate that we are all equal and help to drive a more inclusive society.”
Over the course of two days, the 14-member Board received presentations from future Games organisers, including the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games and Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games.
They also heard reports from the five Asian sub-regions and the various APC subcommittees, and discussed the next steps on the new APC Strategic Plan.
“The Asian Youth Para Games are one of the most important events for us for the future of our movement in the region. They should leave a legacy for the next generations by raising awareness and spreading a message of inclusion which will help grow the movement across the whole region,” Al Usaimi said.