Dominance despite difficulties

Filipino athletes delivered a very memorable performance in the 11th ASEAN Para Games in Surakarta, Indonesia.

With the exception of wheelchair basketball teams, the majority of the national squad arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Sunday carrying stories of triumphs, joy and fulfillment as they powered the country to its best ever finish in the prestigious biennial sportsfest.

The country wrapped up its participation in 14 sports with 28 gold, 28 silver and 47 bronze medals, which surpassed its best finish of 24-24-26 in the Kuala Lumpur edition of the Games in 2009.

With most of its bets seeing action for the first time, the country maintained its No. 5 ranking in the medal tally behind Indonesia with 177 gold, 141 silver and 110 bronze medals, Thailand (117-116-87), Vietnam (64-60-56), and Malaysia (36-20-14).

Heroes were also aplenty for the country during the week-long conclave for differently-able athletes.

ARIEL Joseph Alegarbes makes a strong statement when he scooped three gold medals in swimming competition.

Jinky “Achelle” Guion, a 50-year-old powerlifter who lost her leg due to polio, led the 144-man delegation by serving as flag bearer, setting the tone for one of their most memorable performances ever.

Sander Severino, whose both legs were paralyzed following a bike accident when he was eight, clinched four gold medals in chess while Angel Otom bagged three gold medals in swimming.

The 19-year-old Otom, who was born without arms, splashed her way to golden finishes in the S5 class of the women’s 50-meter butterfly, 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke events.

LONDON Paralympics veteran Jinky ‘Achelle’ Guion carries the national flag, setting the stage for the country’s most successful finish in the ASEAN Para Games.


CENDY Asusano carves her name as the strongest para athlete in the region when she clinched two gold medals in athletics competition.


SANDER Severino emerges as the most successful Filipino para athlete after bagging four gold medals in chess competition.


VETERAN Paralympian Ernie Gawilan picks up where he left off when he delivered the country’s first gold medal in the 11th ASEAN Para Games after ruling the men’s 400m freestyle S7 swimming event.


PHILIPPINE Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo (left) lauds the Filipino athletes after coming up with their best finish ever in the 11th ASEAN Para Games.


JERROLD Mangliwan, who campaigned in the Tokyo Paralympics, successfully retains his men’s wheelchair 100m T52 title with an impressive 19.18 seconds.


CITADEL Mendoza, Jeanlee Nacita and Cherryl Angot bask in glory after capping the country’s campaign with a gold medal in the team blitz chess event.

Also turning in fine performances were veteran swimmer Ernie Gawilan, who dominated the men’s 400m freestyle S7 and men’s 200m individual medley SM7; wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan, who ruled the men’s 400m T52; chesser Menandro Redor, who emerged victorious in the men’s individual B2 and men’s team event standard B2; and Ariel Alegarbes, who shone in the men’s 100m backstroke S14 and men’s 50m butterfly S14 events.

Truly, the Filipino para athletes made their presence felt.

They may not have won the crown, but they still dominated despite their physical difficulties.


Photographs by Joey Sanchez Mendoza

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