Differently abled swimmer inspires in Tri Ilocos Norte 4

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Manny Lobrigo CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Manny Lobrigo CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Despite losing his left leg in a motorcycle accident 15 years ago, Manny Lobrigo chose not to give up but continue pushing his limits as an athlete.

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Lobrigo, 41, is a swimmer from the Mayon Tri Team who recently competed in the Races of the North: Tri Ilocos Norte 4 at Currimao, Ilocos Norte. Lobrigo with his teammates competed in the relay category of the event.

“When I had an operation, it’s too late for the doctor to save my left foot. So, they advise to have my prosthetics made,” said Lobrigo in an interview with The Manila Times.

“After the accident, I became busy and felt like not doing sports. What happened is I gained weight,” he said.

While staying in Austria for almost 12 years after his operation, he relied on swimming to cope up with his trauma.

“I swim there just for recreation. It became very serious to me when I came back here with all the support of my friends and family.”

“All of my friends are doing triathlon kaya sumabay na lang ako. I realized that it really works for me.”

Lobrigo had his first competition two years ago during the Mayon Triathlon in Bicol. He now looks forward to test his mettle in a full triathlon next year.

“I am looking forward to a full triathlon, maybe, next year. But, if I can manage na makahabol ako [this year], I will join.

“Honestly speaking, I swim a lot better than ‘abled’ people,” he said laughing.

The Mt. Mayon Triathlon is slated on August 14 in Legazpi City, Albay.

Lobrigo said that the sport made him forget his handicap.

“Before, I was not thinking I would engage in triathlon. But then, I was able to try it and it has a very positive effect on me not just in my fitness but in [my]mental [capacity as well].”

“With all the support I am receiving, it keeps me going and it is a very good thing for me.”

Besides sports, Lobrigo is preoccupied with his job in the business process outsourcing industry.

He said that he needs to work in order to support his sport.

“Work and sports should have a good balance and I am really quite blessed to have it balanced.”

Lobrigo feels he needs to keep going to live his life to the fullest.

“You cannot do anything without discipline. You have to be straightforward with what you really want to achieve in life. I just feel it you have to keep going,” he said.

Lobrigo also expressed his desire to encourage differently-abled athletes.

“They just have to keep going. It should become their lifestyle to integrate sport [into their lives]and it will do a lot of things in their lives. It will not just boost your morale, your basic day-to-day survival, but it also gives you a lot of strength to face challenges in everyday life.”

“My wish for them is to never stop. Just push [yourself]to the limit and you’ll really get a lot of surprises. We can do a lot of things.”

Lobrigo is also looking forward to representing the Philippines in international tournaments including the Paralympics.

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