|Brave atheletes: Vietnamese athletes with disabilities and sport officials took part in a sending off ceremony held in HCM City last week. Viet Nam will join nine other countries to compete at the eighth ASEAN Para Games in Singapore on December 3-9. — Photo tdtt.gov.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The Singapore's ASEAN Para Games, which officially kicked off yesterday, is an exuberant celebration of the mental and physical strengths of people of all abilities.
It is history in the making as it will be the first time Singapore hosts the Games and a multi-sports event for people with disabilities on this scale.
The ceremony, held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, consists of five musical movements. The 90-minute multimedia extravaganza has been two years in the making. It features nearly 1,500 performers, volunteers and students.
Collaboration and consultation with the community and schools have been at the heart of the creative process. As a well-known teacher and community leader since 1998, a strong pedagogical motivation underlies Philip Tan's creative direction. Tan has also worked with individuals and groups with disabilities for more than 18 years.
"People with disabilities have been central to the creative process of the opening and closing ceremonies. They have been the beating heart which has given life and spirit to this remarkable show. Every single item has been anchored, inspired and/or created by an athlete, performer or Creative Team member with disability. These are the people who help us to grasp, expand and spread the true meaning of the ASEAN Para Games," said Tan on aseanparagames2015.com.
The eighth Games is one of the biggest sport festivals for people with disabilities.
About 3,000 athletes will take part in 15 sports during the seven-day competition.
Thailand and Indonesia are the most powerful delegations with 287 and 250 athletes, respectively, trying to defend their position in the top three ranking.
Viet Nam have sent nearly 130 competitors who will seek for medals in nine sports.
The biggest number is in the track-and-field event with 37 competitors. There are 34 athletes in swimming and 11 in power-lifting.
Other events are chess, table tennis, badminton, and football 5-a-side, apart from boccia and sailing.
To prepare for the Games, athletes have been in training since early September in Ha Noi and HCM City.
The team is asked to grab as many golds and new records as possible to win their berths at the Paralympics 2016 and try to have best position in the ranking.
It is expected that they would win up to 70 gold medals, mainly in power-lifting, swimming and track-and-field.
Athletes will be staying at the Marina Bay Sand Hotel, which is also one of three competition venues.
Most of the events will be organised at the Singapore Sport Hub and Kallang area while sailing will be held at the Marina Bay.
In the previous edition in Myanmar, Viet Nam with 48 gold medals finished fourth in the medal tally.
Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia occupied the top three positions.
According to Vu The Phiet, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Sports for People with Disabilities Association, Viet Nam hopes to send up to 10 athletes to Rio de Janeiro next summer. The number is four now.
The Games will conclude on December 9. — VNS