THE 144-strong Philippine team sets out on a mission to improve on a fifth-place finish in the last staging of the ASEAN Para Games five years ago as it plunges into action in the 11th edition slated July 30 to Aug. 6 in Solo, Indonesia.
The Filipinos harvested 20 gold, 20 silver and 29 bronze medals the last time the biennial meet was staged in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and there is high hopes they could eclipse it, if not match the haul.
“This is a hungry team, a fighting team that is eager to showcase their skills and talent after being deprived of international competition for over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo, who thanked the Philippine Sports Commission for bankrolling the trip.
“I would not be surprised at all if many of our national para athletes will strive harder than ever before in making the most of this opportunity to bring honors to our country in the 11th ASEAN Para Games,” he added.
The track team will spearhead the charge as it has fielded in the biggest delegation at 24 headed by Tokyo Olympians, wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan and thrower Jeanette Aceveda.
Next up are the 22-strong chess squad headed my 2018 Jakarta Asian Para Games quadruple gold medalist and FIDE Master Sander Severino while the Tokyo veteran duo of Ernie Gawilan and Gary Bejino lead the 12-member swim squad.
Other events the country are seeing action are archery (nine), badminton (eight), boccia (four), goal ball (six), judo (five), powerlifting (eight), sitting volleyball (10), table tennis (13), and men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball (12 and 11).
All in all, the country will have 212 delegates to Solo that included officials, chef-de-mission Walter Torres and coaches. — Joey Villar