Flag-bearer Achelle “Jinky” Guion got a timely break when her event in the women’s powerlifting competition was reset to two days after the formal opening of the 11th ASEAN Para Games on Saturday at the Manahan Stadium in Surakarta, Indonesia.
“Malaking tuwa ko po nang malaman ko na na-reset yung dates. At least may isang araw pa akong pahinga bago maglaro,” said Guion after learning of the welcome news last Wednesday that the start of the powerlifting tournament at the Paragon Hotel was moved to Aug. 1.
In the original schedule, the 51-year-old pride of Sipalay, Negros Occidental was supposed to compete in the women’s 45-kilogram division on Sunday or just a day after the inaugural rites at the 20,000-capacity arena located in the heart of the Central Java provincial capital.
“Dahil magiging mabigat sa akin, magpapatulong na akong buhatin yung flag sa Sabado para hindi na ako masyadong mahirapan,” she added.
A back-to-back silver medalist in the 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta Asian Para Games, Guion, however, declined what medal color she would deliver for the country since looming as her fierce rival in the weight class was hometown bet Ni Nengah Widiasih. Competing in the women’s 41-kg. class, Widiasih bagged a silver in last year’s Tokyo Paralympic Games.
“Hindi po ako siguradong magsabi na maka-gold kasi malakas yung Indonesian (Widiasih). Palipat-lipat siya ng weight category lalo na sila ang host. Hindi ko alam kung saan siya maglalaro,” bared Guion, whose personal best lift is 73 kilos.
This was set when the athlete placed eighth overall in the women’s 45-kg. category of the world para powerlifting championships last November in Tbilisi, Georgia.
National coach Rico Canlas said there are five women and three men in the national para powerlifting squad, among them, reigning women’s plus-86-kg. queen Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta, in the stint bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Also in the group are veteran Marydol Pamatian, who will vie in the women’s 41-kg. class, Denesia Apote Esnara (50-kg.), Agustin Kitan, and Romeo Tayawa, will both compete in the men’s 54-kg. category, and Gregorio Damian Payat Jr., who sees action in the men’s 59-kg. division.
“Everyone on our team wants to win but I don’t want to make any medal forecast so as not to pressure our athletes,” said Canlas, who was hoping to surpass the one gold and one bronze medal won in the 2017 Malaysia ASEAN Para Games.