Team Pilipinas will send over 57 of the country’s bravest and finest para-athletes for the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. And after a 21-medal haul during the Asian Games – that was highlighted by four golds – the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Paralympic Committee are not tempering the goals for the country’s differently-abled athletes.
“Alam namin na kaya niyong maka-gold. Last Paralympics, nagkaroon tayo ng silver. Last ASEAN Para Games, umakyat tayo from number seven to number five,” said PSC Commissioner Arnold Agustin. “That was a very good performance. Nung 2014, nakakuha tayo ng lima na silver at lima na bronze.
“Ngayon, I’m very sure na makakakuha tayo ng gold for the first time. I believe that our players are well-prepared for this tournament.”
Back in the 2014 Asiad, the Philippines had a 10-medal finish – five silvers and five bronzes. What came after that was a complete turnaround.
Filipina paddler Josephine Medina took home bronze in the 2016 London Games. A year later, the Filipinos ended up with 20 golds in the Kuala Lumpur ASEAN Para Games to finish fifth.
This time around, the Philippine contingent will be led by Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta of powerlifting and Medina herself.
Also joining the Jakarta trip are Agustina Bantiloc and Giovanni Ola (archery); Prudencia Panaligan, Andy Avellana, Jerrold Pete Mangliwan, Joel Balatucan, Evaristo Carbonel, Jeanette Acebeda, Marites Burce, Arman Dino and Cendy Asusano (athletics); Jonas Matados, Paz Lita and Kathleen Pedrosa (badminton); Sander Severino, Henry Roger Lopez, Jasper Rom, Minandro Redor, Israel Peligro, Arman Subaste, Francis Ching, Rodolfo Sarmiento, Cecilio Bilog, Fe Mangayayam, Jean-lee Nacita and Cheryl Angot (chess); Arthus Bucay and Godfrey Taberna (cycling); Gener Padilla, Deterson Omas and Carlito Agustin (judo); and Achelle Guion, Agustin Kitan, Marydol Pamatian and Romeo Tayawa (powerlifting).
Completing the team are Minnie Cadag, Benedicto Gaela, Pablo Catalan, Darwin Salvacion and Smith Billy Cartera (table tennis); Ernie Gawilan, Gary Bejino, Roland Subido, Arnel Aba and Edwin Villanueva (swimming); and Kim Ian Chi, Samuel Matias, Angelito Guloya, Christopher Yue, Francisco Ednaco, Jaime Manginga, Augusto Hernandez, Crisostomo Yao, Noel Espanol and Ruben San Diego (tenpin bowling).
RP Blu Girls assistant coach Kiko Diaz will serve as the team’s chef de mission. Heading the officials is Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo.
The PSC is going all out in its support for its athletes, dangling a PHP 1,000,000 incentive for gold medal winners, PHP 500,000 for silver medalists, and PHP 200,000 for bronze finishers.
“Ang gusto lang namin from you is to represent your country well. Of course, we would want you to medal but the more important thing is for your to enjoy yourselves. We are behind you all the way,” vowed PSC commissioner Charles Maxey.
“The nation is hoping, praying and supporting you.”