|The Philippines is hosting
the 3rd ASEAN Para Games, a biennial multi-sports championship for
the differently abled on December 14-21, 2005 with over 1,200 athletes
from eleven (11) countries seeing action. It follows the Southeast Asian
Games and is hosted by the same country where the SEA Games take place.
The Southeast Asian version
of the Paralympics started in 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vietnam hosted
the second meet of the games. The event expands this year to an ambitious
bid to reach a wider audience and match popularity of mainstream sports
events such as the SEA Games.
Chaired by Michael Barredo,
President of the International Blind Sports Federation, the Philippines
ASEAN Para Games Organizing Committee included five (5) more sports disciplines
in the calendar, increasing the total number of regular sports to ten (10)
and possibly adding four (4) more as demonstration events.
Over six hundred (600) gold
medals are at stake in the tournament that will feature the exploits of
top athletes who are visually impaired, orthopedically handicapped, intellectually
disabled and those with cerebral palsy.
An international Paralympics
Committee sanctioned event, the ASEAN Para Games is being held the same
year as the SEA Games. Other participating countries are Thailand, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore, East Timor and Vietnam.
The 3rd ASEAN Para Games
has adopted the whale shark (Rhicondon typus) as its mascot. Affectionately
named "Buboy Butanding", it is considered the largest fish in the world.
This gentle giant is found to be playful by those who encounter it, visits
the Philippine waters between the months of November to May and is a protected
specie. As the 3rd ASEAN Para Games mascot, "Buboy Butanding" embodies
gentleness and determination.