What the country’s able athletes couldn’t do, their differently-abled counterparts will try to accomplish.
The Philippines’ differently abled athletes leave today with an eye of easing the pain of a 24-gold debacle in the Southeast Asian Games as they go for 27 gold medals or more in the 9th ASEAN Para Games slated on September 17 to 23 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Philippine chef de mission Ral Rosario, who left early on Tuesday to attend the delegation head meeting the same day, estimated the 164-member delegation could win a minimum of 27 gold medals, which will be three more than what the country snared in the SEAG just over a week back.
It will also be a mark improvement from the 16 golds the Filipinos win in the last Para Games edition in Singapore two years ago.
“The team is in high spirits, and if our estimation is correct, we have a strong chance of winning 27 golds, perhaps more,” said Rosario.
Nikko Huelgas and Claire Adorna, who claimed a gold and a silver in SEAG triathlon, attended the send-off to give the athletes inspirational messages.
The Filipino woodpushers are expected to spearhead the country’s campaign as they seek for nothing less than seven golds, one more than their six-gold haul in Singapore two years ago.
Chesser Minandro Ridor will be country’s flag-bearer after a four-gold harvest in the visually impaired 2 division, which is for partially blind participants.
Wheelchair-bound FIDE Master Sander Severino and Henry Lopez are also part of the team with hopes of sweeping the individual and team events of standard and rapid.
Paralympics veteran Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta of powerlifting and Josephine Medina of table tennis are also expected to strike gold.
Dumapong-Ancheta made history by becoming the country’s first medal winner in the Paralympics after she claimed a bronze in the 2000 Sydney Games while Medina bagged a bronze in Rio de Janerio, Brazil last year.