The Philippine para-athletics team is aiming for a seven-gold medal finish in the 9th Asean Para Games slated on September 17 to 23 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 18-man delegation will try to surpass its five-gold medal haul in the 2015 edition of the meet in Singapore.
Leading the charge for the country’s differently-abled athletics team are Joel Balatucan of throwing events and Jerold Mangliwan on wheelchair races.
Besides Mangliwan and Balatucan, the other members of the PH para-athletics team are Prudencia Panaligan, Isidro Vildosola, Andy Avellana, Evaristo Carbonnel, Ruth Opena, Rosalie Torrefiel, Ma. Cielo Honasan, Cendy Asusano, Jesebel Tordecilla, Jeannette Acebeda, Marites Burce, Arman Dino, Roger Tapia, Raul Angoluan, Jerome Hernandez and Bernie Bohol.
The team is under tutelage of national coaches Joel Deriada, Ernie Candelario and Nixon Mas.
A total of 111 athletes will compete in 12 sports among archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, chess, cycling, goalball, powerlifting, swimming, table tennis, tenpin bowling, and wheelchair basketball during the weeklong competition.
Chef de mission Ral Rosario is optimistic that it can deliver 27 golds in the competition.
In the 2015 edition, the Philippines won 16 gold, 17 silver and 26 bronze medals for a seventh-place finish behind the leader Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar and host Singapore. JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID