Zero to hero: PH achieves historic 10-gold haul in Asian Para Games
MANILA, Philippines – Before leaving for the 2018 Asian Para Games, Team Philippines had only hoped to bring home at least one historic gold medal from the quadrennial event.
Little did they know that the 57-man contingent would be teeming with golden stars who amassed 10 gold medals to cap off an incredible Asiad stint.
"Our athletes really overachieved in this edition of the 3rd Asian Para Games," said Team Para Philippines chef de mission Francis "Kiko" Diaz.
"This feat is a real testament to the will, strength and courage of our para athletes."
The Philippines ended its campaign at 11th overall with a total of 29 medals – 10 golds, 8 silvers and 11 bronzes – eclipsing the 5-silver and 5-bronze finish in the 2014 Incheon edition.
The Philippine chess team contributed to the majority of the haul with 13 medals, including half of the country's 10 golds.
Sander Severino's quadruple gold performance highlighted the Filipino chessers' campaign as he swept all 4 of his events in the P1 category.
The men's B2/B3 chess team composed of Menandro Redor, Arman Subaste, and Israel Peligro also starred to take the top spot in their event.
Paralympian Ernie Gawilan, who brought home the country's first gold medal on Sunday, October 7, made waves with a total of 3 gold medals and 2 silvers in the swimming competition.
Gary Bejino also chipped in one silver and two bronze medals for a total of 8 medals from the 5-tanker squad.
Cycling veteran Arthus Bucay also ended his Asian Para Games campaign on a high note as he snagged the gold on the penultimate day of competition to pair it with his earlier bronze medal.
Filipino kegler Kim Chi nabbed a gold in his individual TPB10 while settling for a silver with his partner Samuel Matias in the doubles event.
"We are hopeful that these victories will truly inspire all our countrymen and at the same time, we hope that this becomes a catalyst for both government and private corporations to fully support the cause of the Filipino athletes with disabilities," added Diaz.
Diaz also credited the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for their all-out support for the national para athletes as they were able to send the athletes to several international competitions.
"Again, these high level competitions proved crucial as it helped out athletes be more mentally prepared and tough heading to this 3rd Asian Para Games," said Diaz.
The Asian Para Games medalists will collect a total of P16.2 M of cash incentives from the PSC where Gawilan will receive the bulk of the cash at P4M.
Team Para Philippines will return to Manila on Sunday, October 14. – Rappler.com