FILIPINO para-athletes are raring to compete for the country in the coming 9th ASEAN Para Games in Malaysia this September 2017 and looking forward with gusto to the Asian Para Games in Indonesia in 2018, the 10th ASEAN Para Games in Manila and the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020.
The Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) and the Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled (PHILSPADA) held yesterday (June 9) the first ever Philippine Para Sports Summit at Microtel, Technohub in Diliman, Quezon City. With the theme “Transcending Barriers Through Sports”, the summit underscored PPC-PHILSPADA’s mission to develop an inclusive society that uses para sports as a tool to change the lives of Filipinos with disabilities.
Launched at the event was the Alay PARA Atleta program, a nationwide campaign designed to make the general public genuine stakeholders of the Paralympic Movement. Contributions made through mobile phone access will boost funding for para-athletes and teams to achieve sporting excellence that will excite and inspire the world.
The Summit discussed the Paralympic Movement, the Paralympics Classification System, medical sports science and anti-doping, the achievements and plight of Filipino para-athletes, para-athletes’ actual experiences in foreign competition and PPC-PHILSPADA’s plans and programs for the next three years. Michael I. Barredo, President of PPC-PHILSPADA made a call to action at the end of the one-day summit for both government and private sectors to join the Paralympic Movement.
“These special athletes compete doubly hard, against all odds, through hardships, difficulties and physical handicaps to give glory to the country just like athletes without disabilities. They desire nothing more but to be given an equal chance to prove their worth and serve the country in their special way,” Barredo said.
PPC-PHILSPADA aims to rejuvenate paralympic sports in the country and establish offices in the regions to strengthen the organization and expand the athletes’ pool nationwide. The long-term goal, Barredo said, is to enlarge the scope of Philippine Paralympic sports to include para golf, para hockey, para chess and others.
Among the speakers at the Summit were champion powerlifter, Adeline Ancheta, Bronze Medalist at the Sydney Paralympic Games 2000; Josephine Medina, table tennis Bronze Medalist at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016, Ernie Gawilan, Davao’s para-athlete swimming sensation and consistent Gold Medalist in ASEAN Para Games; Joel Deriada, Athletics coach and Vernon Perea, Wheelchair Basketball coach.
Key speakers at the Summit were Philippine Olympic Committee president Peping Cojuangco, Commissioner Arnold Agustin of the Philippine Sports Commission, Olympian Gerardo “Ral” Rosario, physical medicine and rehab expert Dr. Raul Cembrano, noted sports medicine expert, Dr. Raul Canlas and Michael Barredo.
A moving Dance Sport exhibition by Filipino para-athletes Julius Jun Obero and Rhea Marquez, World Champions in the Paralympic Dance Sport Competition in Rome 2015, opened the eyes of participants, media and guests to the power and beauty of this sport as performed by para-athletes.
PPC, the national Paralympic Committee of the Philippines and PHILSPADA are the organizations that spearhead activities and take care of operational requirements of elite athletes with disabilities (orthopedic disability, cerebral palsy, visual impairment and mental disabilities). (PR)