With three of the biggest para-sport events taking place in Asia over the next five years, APC president Majid Al Osaimi wants to make the most of the opportunity.
UAE 'providing strong support' to APC's vision as Dubai gets set to host Asian Youth Para Games
The UAE has a central role to play in the Asian Paralympic Committee's (APC) vision of making Asia a global leader in para-athletics, according to APC president Majid Al Osaimi.
The third edition of the Asian Youth Para Games will take place in Dubai from December 8-14 as para-athletes under the age of 20 compete across 10 disciplines; athletics, swimming, boccia, goalball, archery, chess, badminton, 10-pin bowling, powerlifting and table tennis.
The UAE will also stage a Special World Summer Games in 2019 ahead of the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
“At the Asian Paralympic Committee, our vision is to make Asia a leader in Paralympics,” Al Osaimi, a former Emirati para athlete, said.
“To achieve this, we need to make sure that Asia's young para-athletes have competition structures in place to help them develop into the Paralympians in the future.
“This event is a crucial part of our strategic plan. I'm delighted that Dubai is proving to be such an ideal host, with the UAE Government and the Dubai Club for the Disabled providing such strong support.
“This announcement is another demonstration of our commitment to building the Paralympic movement in Asia.
“It’s vital that we provide opportunities for young athletes to compete in a multi-sport environment and this will hopefully inspire them to continue on their sporting journey which may lead ultimately to the Paralympic Games.”
With Tokyo hosting the next Paralympic Games in 2020 and the next two Winter Paralympics also being held in Asia - Pyeongchang 2018 and Beijing 2022 - Al Osaimi believes there is a big opportunity for the continent to make a big impact in para-sport.
“With the major events lined-up for the next five years I strongly believe the biggest sponsor of the para athletic movement for the next decade will come from Asia,” he said.
“This will also be my job in the coming years, to garner support and sponsorship for the upcoming events, beginning with the Asia Para Youth Asian Games.”
Mohammed Al Hameli, chairman of the organising committee and newly elected board member of the International Paralympic Committee, said Dubai was an ideal venue with their expertise in hosting major para-sport competitions.
“Dubai is ready to welcome these young athletes and to provide them with the right environment to compete and test themselves against their peers,” he said.