IN PHOTOS: Cebuano PWDs break barriers through dragonboat racing
The Philippines Accessibility Disabilities Services (PADS) Adaptive Dragonboat Racing Team consists of several amputees, polio survivors, blind, and Deaf. In spite of their physical disability, they chose to leave the confines of their homes, pick up a paddle, and pursue their passion for rowing. They also want to foster an inclusive PWD sports community.
With a tight grip on their paddles imprinted with the phrase “Destined to Greatness” on the handles, they call out to others under the same conditions to come out of hiding, reclaim their dignity, and own their lives again. They are out to prove that sports is for all.
The team's latest recruit, Brylle Arombo, 20 years old, lost his right leg to a road accident in late 2016. Arombo resides in the far southern town of Argao and came all the way to the city to join the team. "I saw them in a Facebook video. I thought it's amazing that such (a) team exists. I wanted to become a part of it, to again be active, and stop just staying at home all day," said Arombo in Bisaya.
And, what's next for the team? They are to compete and represent the country in the Hongkong Paradragon Championships this June 2-5, 2017.
In preparation for the race, the team trains four days a week, undergoing intensive land, pool, and sea training. However, due to the lack of funding, the members shoulder their own expenses. Maunes shared, "They are very admirable because you could see their commitment to the sport... and some of them don't even have income due to [PWD] employment barriers."
With huge expenses in mind, the paddlers doubt if they could really participate in the Hongkong Race. The team needs sponsors and donors who can provide training equipment and improve their training environment. The team does not even possess its own boats and can only borrow the boats of other teams.
Here are some photos of the PADS Dragonboat racing team:
Richale Cabauatan is a prime Mover from Cebu.