EASTERN SAMAR, Philippines – A person with disability (PWD) ruled the skimboarding competition of the Surf in the City Festival on Tuesday, December 17, drawing praise and admiration from the audience.
Jesus Lawrence Quitorio, 25, of Borongan City, Eastern Samar, won the top spot of the side event despite having speech and movement difficulties.
"Masaya ako na nanalo. Almost 3 years na ako nagpa-practice. Tuloy-tuloy lang," Quitorio said of his achievement.
(I'm happy that I won. I've been practicing for almost 3 years now. I will continue learning.)
Skimboarding is a sport that uses a skimboard to glide across the water surface to meet an incoming breaking wave. Skimboarders use multiple maneuvers to gain points.
For the skimboarding community in Borongan, Quitorio's win is seen as a community effort.
Quitorio learned the sport because of his friends and he continues to improve on it because of their support.
"At first, he was trying to learn on his own. But as his friends, we thought we'd teach him properly and give him support like the right equipment," Junder Baser, who helped teach Quitorio, said in Filipino.
The 32-year-old local said skimboarding helps Quitorio improve his motor skills, which at first were seemingly hopeless.
"The way he moved before, he always seemed drunk even though he wasn't. Skimboarding helped him channel his energy and improve his mobility," Baser added in Filipino.
It takes discipline to be good at skimboarding. Getting injured is also normal. Despite these, Quitorio continues to upgrade his skills to reach his goals.
"Gusto ko makapag-travel and mag-compete sa iba't-ibang lugar," he said.
(I want to be able to travel and compete in other places.)
Baser added: "We're setting our eyes on the world league. My brother competed there before. We'll work hard to get there."
Surf in the City brought 103 surfers from across the Philippines to compete in longboard and shortboard surf events, while skimboarding, beach football, amazing race, and nightly concerts are also being held.
The festival ends on Friday, December 20. – Rappler.com