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Asian Para Games athletes call for support

WITH the country still euphoric over the success of Team Philippines in the last 19th Hangzhou Asian Games, Philippine Paralympic Committee President Mike Barredo urged Filipinos to also support the national para athletes as they compete in the 4th Asian Para Games opening in the same Chinese port city on Sunday.

“Our national para athletes have worked just as hard, if not harder, to compete in the Asian Para Games so I pray that our compatriots give them their all-out support as they gave our national athletes,” said Barredo as the first batch of the Hangzhou-bound campaigners left yesterday.

Ernie Gawilan CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Philippine contingent Chef de Mission and former national swimming standout Ral Rosario and deputies Millette Bonoan and Irene Soriano-Remo left over the weekend to prepare the way for the Nationals, whose stint is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the PSC and Chairman Richard Bachmann for the government sports agency's continued support for our participation in the Asian Para Games,” Barredo said.

The PPC honcho said that he was “guardedly optimistic'' about the chances of the Filipino bets, who will bid to surpass the medal haul 10 gold, 8 silver and 11 bronzes, winding up 11 overall in the third edition held in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018.

FIDE Master Sander Severino and para swimmer Ernie Gawilan spearheaded the successful drive of the Philippines in garnering four golds and three golds, respectively, in the continental showcase featuring Asia's best para athletes.

“I am guardedly optimistic because our athletes have been training very hard for this opportunity to compete in the Asian Para Games.This is why I told our coaches to relay to all of our athletes to stay positive. All of us should have a positive attitude,” Barredo stressed.

Although declining to make any forecasts, “my position is always for our athletes to match or do better than our previous performances. that is always the target,” said the PPC official, who is also the vice president of the Asian Paralympic Committee.

He said that making predictions on how the country's standard-bearers will fare was likewise difficult “because we don't know how our competition will also perform since the last Asian Para Games was held five years ago.

“Nonetheless, I would like to encourage our athletes to enjoy their experience as they do their best and make their country proud.”

While citing chess and swimming as the major gold medal prospects anew, Barredo said not to be overlooked are the other disciplines like cycling powerlifting, which also delivered medals in the previous Games.

“We may also see a golden breakthrough in athletics through wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan and rookie thrower Andrei Kuizon, who did well in the Cambodia ASEAN Para Games,” he noted.

It will also mark the first time that the national men's wheelchair basketball team will represent the country in the sportsfest, Barredo pointed.

“Our wheelchair basketeers will face tough challenges in Hangzhou. But like Gilas Pilipinas – who knows – they may surprise us all. The fact that they will be there is an achievement in itself,” he said.

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Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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