Yup! We did not qualify for the 2017 Asean Para Games (APG).
Our commitment was questionable (attendance wasn’t up to mark) and although the women’s team had good results from friendly games, these were not IBSA sanctioned competitions. Results from IBSA sanctioned events are used as the main benchmarks for qualification.
Unfortunately, the latter is a real challenge mainly because the APG is the ONLY IBSA sanctioned competition for South East Asian countries. The level of competition for other IBSA events are at a much higher level and only Thailand competes at these competitions.
The cost is also high – USD 600 per player for a recent Asia Pacific competition organized by Thailand. Also, our players may not be able to take leave for overseas competition due to work or school commitments.
In addition, unlike our regional counterparts where selection can be made from domestic competitions, we do not have a big pool of players for any meaningful domestic competitions.
Given these circumstances, we will work with the SDSC to come up with a revised plan to measure the team’s progress leading up to APG 2019 (which also marks the end of the team’s five year plan). Should qualification for APG 2019 be improbable, then we will be better off directing our efforts towards a different pathway so long as the team’s core purpose – ‘To provide opportunities for persons with visual impairments to participate in a competitive team sport’ is still met.