The fourth Asian Youth Para Games will kick off in Bahrain on December 2 under a strict ‘bubble’ system to combat COVID-19.
The protocols will require a negative PCR test prior to travel to Bahrain, a PCR test on arrival and quarantine until the test result, followed by regular testing throughout the time in the country. Under the bubble system, movement will be restricted to the hotel, training and competition venues.
The decision to not make vaccinations mandatory differs from two other events featuring young athletes that are being held between late November and the middle of December.
Both the Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia and the Winter World University Games in and around Lucerne, Switzerland are requiring all participants to be fully vaccinated.
The Asian Paralympic Committee, in a statement to Around the Rings, explained the reasons behind the decision for Bahrain 2021.
“Participants will not be required to have full vaccination status as this is not a condition of entry to Bahrain and, given the age of the athletes competing, at the time of planning the Covid protocols it was likely that some athletes would not be eligible for vaccination in their countries. The Covid protocols have therefore been developed to ensure safe delivery of the Games regardless of vaccination status.
“The APC, the LOC and the Bahrain Government are confident that the protocols are robust and will identify any positive case at the earliest opportunity, at which point separate quarantine and medical protocols will be enacted.”
An estimated 900-1000 athletes from 30-35 countries are expected to compete in nine sports: athletics, badminton, boccia, goalball, taekwondo, powerlifting, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.
To mark the 50 days to go to the start of the Games, the mascot and slogan were revealed on Wednesday.
The mascot is called ‘BulBul’ and is based on a well-known species of bird found in Bahrain. The bird was chosen due to its cultural heritage to the host country, as well as symbolising the beauty that can be found around the Kingdom, its natural habitat.
The slogan is ‘Together. Rising. Stronger.’ which the APC said was created to reflect the aims of the Asian Youth Para Games: to promote friendships amongst the athletes (together), improve their performances (rising) and for them to leave better equipped for their future sporting careers (stronger).
“Seeing the Games mascot come to life and to announce the slogan is an exciting step towards the Games in just 50 days’ time,” Asian Paralympic Committee President Majid Rashed said in a statement.
“We are pleased that the Kingdom of Bahrain is hosting such an important tournament for the future of para-sport in Asia and I’m sure that they will be fantastic hosts for all the young athletes from across the region to come together and celebrate the power of sport to unify and promote inclusivity.”
The last Asian Youth Para Games was held in 2017 in Dubai. This year’s event in Bahrain runs from December 2 to 6.
The competition venues are located at the Khalifa Sports City, a multi-use stadium in Isa Town, and Isa Sports City, the national indoor sports facility.