COVID-19: The Paralympic Movement in Asia

As the world faces an unprecedented challenge due to COVID-19 crisis, several countries and governments have taken initiatives and measures to battle the pandemic that has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.

While nations have strictly imposed lockdown and social distancing to fight the outbreak, the Paralympic Movement in Asia has been affected with events postponed, training suspended and athletes forced to stay indoors. On our social media channels, we have highlighted some of the innovative training regimes undertaken by athletes across the region. Here we will look at some of the other initiatives undertaken by NPCs in Asia.

NPC Kazakhstan president offers help

In Central Asia, like many other nations the state of emergency in Kazakhstan was introduced on March 16, 2020. To fight the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected around 10,000 in the country, National Paralympic Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan president Kairat Boranbayev along with the President of the National Olympic Committee Timur Kulibayev donated 1 billion tenge (around 2.5 million US dollars) to the administration of Nur-Sultan city and eight ambulance cars equipped with resuscitator and artificial lung ventilation apparatus to Almaty city.

In addition, Mr. Boranbayev established an Emergency Response Unit aimed at rendering assistance for those who lost their jobs during the outbreak at Almaty city. In total 1082 grocery baskets weighted 14 tons were transferred. The President also arranged hotels in Nur-Sultan to accommodate those arrived in the city from abroad as quarantine zones.

APC President Rashed thanks UAE government and supports testing programme

In West Asia, the United Arab Emirates has undertaken a significant mass testing programme which encompasses the disabled community (known as People of Determination in the UAE) including Para athletes. The UAE government has ensured that medical representatives reach out to these people in their homes, if needed.

Asian Paralympic Committee Majid Rashed thanked the UAE government for this “great initiative” of reaching out to the People of Determination and carrying out tests at their homes.

Rashed personally was also present when Dubai Ambulance started the initiative to encourage people to take up the scheme. Rashed, who is also the CEO of Dubai Club for People of Determination, has always encouraged other governments as well to support the People of Determination.

Meanwhile, NPC I. R. Iran has taken several initiatives in support of the Para athletes since the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the country. The health observing system of the NPC I. R. Iran Medical department has been checking on the athletes’ health meticulously. Through the feedback received from the athletes, sufficient advice or medication are offered to them. If any athlete has the symptoms, more serious actions are be taken by the medical department (i.e. taking further tests, hospitalising etc.).

Specific sports exercises have also been designed and circulated for the selected Paralympians to be performed at home by the NPC I. R. Iran Academy. Besides, the spirit of the athletes has been lifted up by sharing videos and messages of Para athletes during this challenging time.

First-ever Para Sports webinar held

In South Asia, in order to spread positivity and awareness during the lockdown period, the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) organised a 16-day Para Sports Online Development Programme (Technical and Sports Science) focusing on basic fundamentals, technical and scientific aspects of various disciplines of parasports.

The webinar was aimed at creating awareness about Para sports in the country with over 300 participants taking part in each of the sessions.

The PCI officials and staff also donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Indian government and their one-day salary to the Prime Minister Relief Fund. The PCI Chief Patron Avinash Rai Khanna also donated his one-month pension to the Relief Fund.

In addition, Para athletes like Pramod Bhagat and Sharad Kumar extended financial help to the Relief Funds helping the government’s fight against Covid-19.

Meanwhile in Bhutan, the 1st webinar on mental health and motivational training during COVID-19 was organised by Nippon Sports Science University (NSSU), Japan. The webinar helped athletes to stay motivated and determined to reach Tokyo2021 with positive attitude and aptitude during the Pandemic. The webinar was attended by Bhutan Para Athletics team and representative from NPC Bhutan along with other international participants.

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