Dubai: Bahrain has promised to leave a true and lasting legacy for sport in the country and the region at large.
Preparations for the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games took a big step forward when a delegation from the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) visited Manama and met with members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and participated in a formal signing ceremony of being the host city for the sporting event scheduled later this year.
Although preparations have continued behind the scenes, the site visit and signing ceremony had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
APC President Majid Rashid Al Usaimi and CEO Tarek Souei met with Bahrain Paralympic Committee Chairman Shaikh Mohammad Bin Duaij Al Khalifa and BPC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Al Majed to formally sign the Host City Contract and discuss the next phase of preparations for the Games that are scheduled to take place in December this year.
“The Asian Youth Para Games is very important for the athletes and the NPCs as we are all eyeing the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. We have one of the largest youth communities in Asia and it’s important to give them an opportunity to compete in a fair Games who would eventually compete with high performance athletes in more developed age groups,” Shaikh Mohammad Bin Duaij said after the signing ceremony held in the presence of Bahraini para-athletes, Ahmad Al Hindawi and Zainah Abdulqadeer.
“Hosting the Games in Bahrain is extremely important for us. These would leave a positive legacy in terms of assets of infrastructure, the social inclusion of our athletes and people with impairment in the community of Kingdom of Bahrain which we can, gladly, say that its growing and we hope to see it developing further. We also believe that the sports will play a bigger role in terms of leaving sustainable development initiatives towards the UNDP goals,” he stressed.
“In terms of preparation, we have created various committees for the conduct of the Games. The sports facilities have also been approved by the Asian Paralympic Committee. In fact, we are very thankful to them for their continuous support in all aspects of the preparation of the Games. This is a difficult time for everyone and we understand that there would be challenges, thus we are working with the authorities in Bahrain to make these Games as smooth and seamless as possible,” Shaikh Duaij added.
APC President Al Usaimi was thrilled with the progress made with the organisation of the Games. “I am delighted that we have finally been able to visit Bahrain and conduct this ceremony. Both organisations have continued to work on the delivery of the Games throughout the pandemic, but to be here and to meet in person gives us all a huge boost,” he said.
“The Games are an important stepping stone for young Asian para-athletes on their sporting journey. This journey has had so much disruption over the past year but these Games give us all hope and something to aim for so that they are back on track for Paris 2024 and beyond,” he added.
In the meeting following the ceremony, the two organisations discussed some of the key areas including sport entries, accreditation, accommodation and COVID-19 protocols.
They also discussed potentially amending the competition dates to ensure that there is no clash with the International Paralympic Committee’s General Assembly which is scheduled for December 11-12. A final decision on this is expected in the near future.
The Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games will be the fourth edition of the Asian Youth Para Games which are the largest event of its kind in the region. An estimated 800 athletes under 20 years of age will compete across nine sports. It will be the first time that Bahrain will be hosting such a large-scale para-sport event.