The country’s delegation to the 12th Asean Para Games (APG) has penciled the same goal as Team Philippines in the recent 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
“We would like to do better than the previous campaign in the Asean Para Games,” said Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo during the send-off ceremony of the 259-member delegation to the event that will run from June 3 to June 9 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
And that seems to be the consensus of the Philippine team.
“Our goal is to surpass the medal haul from the last APG,” said commissioner Walter Torres of the Philippine Sports Commission and the chef de mission for the delegation.
In the Para Games hosted by Indonesia last year, the Philippines finished at fifth place with 28 golds, 30 silvers and 46 bronzes for 104 total medals.
The country is gunning to better those numbers, counting on old reliables to step up—for a reason.
“Our veteran para athletes from athletics, swimming and chess are stronger and motivated to do even better in preparation for the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou and the qualifiers leading to the Paris Paralympics next year,’’ Torres said.
Last year’s gold medalist Ernie Gawilan will spearhead the swim team along with APG three-gold performers Ariel Alegarbes and Angel Otom as well as Tokyo Paralympian Gary Bejino, Edwin Villanueva, Marco Tinamisan, Roland Sabido, Arnel Aba and Muhaimin Ulag.
“We are also looking at the new teams, women’s goalball and men’s CP (cerebral palsy) football. They are making a debut with a possibility of a podium finish,’’ said Torres.
“The whole process of supporting and motivating our para athletes is in place,’’ Barredo said.
The 174 athletes entered in 12 regular sports and one demonstration event (Esports) is the biggest Philippine athlete contingent in the history of APG, possessing a higher probability of clinching more gold medals compared to the previous campaign.
Top Filipino para athletes have been lined up in athletics (23), badminton (9), boccia (8), chess (22), cerebral palsy football (10), goalball (12), judo (4), powerlifting (11), sitting volleyball (14), swimming (12), table tennis (21), wheelchair basketball (23) and Esports (5).
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