The 32nd Workshop

February 19, 2019

Chiyoko Omae, the Chef de Mission (CdM) of Team Japan in Asian Para Games 2018
Moderator: Toshio Mochizuki, Board of Trustees of Japanese Para-Sports Association, Director of the Japan Olympic Academy

The 2018 Asian Para Games, a multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities in the Asian region, were held in Jakarta, Indonesia over October 6 - 13, 2018.
The Games' organizing committee was set up approximately eleven months before the Games opened. One of the reasons for the Games' success was the presence of members on the organizing committee who worked quickly within such a short time frame.

The number one issue in the preparations for these Games was dealing with Jakarta's traffic congestion. Because transporting the athletes affects the running of the Games as a whole, the organizing committee decided to employ a range of measures including exclusive road lanes for athletes' buses, and having police officers direct traffic.
However, it still took about an hour from the athletes' village to some of the arenas, and there were days when events had to be rescheduled because of traffic issues.

On the other hand, we can say that the hosting of the Games had a big social impact. Training a body of volunteers is one of the Games' most important legacies. Because Indonesia had had very limited experience to date in hosting big international disability sports events, it could not afford to lose any time in training its volunteers, and training them well. The training included learning how to support the athletes, appropriate manners, and inappropriate behavior in international contexts. It also covered how volunteers would be sending out a message about Indonesian culture as a public face of the Games.
The 2018 Asian Para Games can also be described as a first step in bringing about changes in attitudes within Indonesian society towards people with disabilities. The live television screening of the Games, the appearance of athletes with disabilities in the media, and the use of sign language interpreters on television are small changes that can be built on, and are important for the future.

Although the Asian Para Games did face issues, with all member nations of the Asian Paralympic Committee participating, the 2018 Asian Para Games is a memorable Games that can be said to have helped advance the Paralympic Movement in Asia. It should also be noted that these were the first games in the history of the Asian Para Games where the opening ceremony was attended by the host nation's head of state (Indonesia's President Joko Widodo). It is important to continue to view the progress of the Paralympics as leading to peace in Asia.