Singapore mulls over hosting world para swimming championships

Some 600 swimmers from over 60 nations are expected to contest over 160 titles at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.
Some 600 swimmers from over 60 nations are expected to contest over 160 titles at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore Disability Sports Council president Kevin Wong thinks it is "important" that the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships be held in the region, after Malaysia was stripped of the hosting rights of the July 29-Aug 4 event last Sunday.

"It will only bode well for the development of para swimming in the region," said Wong, who is also the Singapore National Paralympic Council chairman.

He added that Singapore could step up to host the event, which also serves as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The Republic has had experience hosting high-level sports events at short notice.

For example, Singapore hosted the World Pencak Silat Championships last December, five months after taking over from Indonesia.

But Singapore is also hosting the World Para Swimming World Series in May, calling into question the availability of resources and sponsors for two similar events in such a short time.

The world series will set foot in Asia for the first time this year with Singapore as the fifth host.

About 150 swimmers are expected at the three-day competition.

For the world championships, some 600 swimmers from over 60 nations are expected to contest over 160 titles.

"The championship is a huge undertaking and the local sports fraternity and government will need to support any intentions to bid for the event," said Wong.

Last Sunday, the International Paralympic Committee stripped Malaysia of its hosting rights, after the country banned Israeli athletes from participating.

Theresa Goh, 2016 Paralympic women's 100m breaststroke SB4 bronze medallist, is competing in both world-level meets and hopes that the Republic can host the world championships as well.

Said 31-year-old Goh, who aims to qualify for Tokyo 2020: "Allowing more opportunities for para-athletes to compete with the best in the world means more opportunities to race and more opportunities for the public to see more of these events.

"It's good for representation, to allow people to see others who are not from their own country, with disabilities who are also athletes."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2019, with the headline 'Singapore mulls over hosting world para swimming c'ships'. Print Edition | Subscribe