Countdown starts for World Para Swimming Championship

Karim (centre) is joined by (from right) Subramaniam, Snowdan, Ng and Ong when launching the 360 Days Countdown to Kuching 2019 World Para Swimming Championships at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre


KUCHING: Sarawak is honoured to host the Kuching World Para Swimming Championships from July 29 to Aug 4 next year. Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said Kuching would become the first Asian city and Malaysia the first Asian country ever to host the event which is the biggest para swimming meet to be held before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.


“This is also the final qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and I am very happy to see that about 800 para swimmers from 80 countries will be coming. “They will come together with the officials, families and friends and we want the swimmers not only to compete here but also to see what Kuching has to offer in term of hospitality and tourist attractions,” he said at the launching of the 360 Days Countdown to the event at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre in Petra Jaya.


“We want them to go back with fond memories of Kuching and what a beautiful place Kuching is, the food we eat and how the 27 ethnic groups live in unity and diversity in Sarawak.” Karim said the Sarawak government was happy to take the lead in organising such a competition where the physically, visually and intellectual challenged athletes can compete. “Of course, the facilities here need to be properly done. Some areas of this sports complex have to be rearranged like we have to build ramps to enable easier access and movement around the complex,” he added.


“I would like to thank and congratulate those who have helped to bring the event to this stage and I believe that the team (KUPSOC) set up to organise this event in a year to come will be able to run it smoothly and popularise aquatic sports not only in Malaysia but the world.” Karim said it would cost around RM5 million to host the event and that the benefits and returns are unmeasurable as Kuching and Sarawak will get valuable publicity in sports tourism.


“The State government has approved RM5 million to organise this event and we are also getting assistance from the World Paralympic Council,” he said in a press conference. According to Karim, representatives of the World Paralympic Council committee had been in Kuching twice to inspect the facilities at the aquatic centre in June last year and April this year and they were satisfied with the preparation.


“Preparations for the organising of the event are going on smoothly. We are preparing to turn the sports complex into a smart sports complex and we will be going to sign a contract with a South Korean company,” added Karim. Also present were Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Sarawak Sports Corporation CEO Dr Ong Kong Swee, Paralympic Council of Malaysia vice presidents John Ng Keng Choon and First Admiral (rtd) Dato Subramaniam Raman Nair.