MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will be represented well in the upcoming 2022 ASEAN Para Games as 144 athletes are set to compete in Surakata, Indonesia from July 30 to August 6.
Veteran Paralympian Ernie Gawilan leads the Filipino para-athlete contingent, and he shared that he and his fellow athletes were more than ready to compete in the biennial meet.
“Our training has been very good. Everyone is raring to go,” the star swimmer told the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) in Filipino during their weekly forum on Tuesday, July 12.
This marks the Filipino athletes’ first international competition in the pandemic following the cancellation of the 2020 Para Games in the Philippines. This is also the athletes’ first Para Games since 2017.
“It’s important to see the athletes’ performances after a long break,” added athletics coach Joel Deriada. “The athletes and coaches are really hungry for competition, and they just want to give honor to the country.”
Gawilan and the rest of the Philippine contingent have been deep in bubble training in PhilSports in Pasig City since June 6, and are set to fly out to Indonesia on July 26.
“The bubble has been great. The athletes are focused, and all they need to do is eat, sleep, and train, as all their needs are already being provided,” Deriada said.
The Filipino athletes will compete in archery, athletics, badminton, boccia (precision ball), chess, goal ball, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, and wheelchair basketball.
Joining the 144 athletes are 68 officials, including coaches, trainers, and medical staff.
The Philippines is now looking to best its fifth-place, 20-20-29 gold-silver-bronze medal haul at the 2017 Para Games in Malaysia, where Indonesia ran away with a massive 126-75-83 tally to take the top spot. – Rappler.com
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