MANILA – Rhea Haina Garcia will share her journey as “Babaeng Atleta Modelo ng Kabataang May Kapansanan” awardee during 2021 Gintong Gawad Awards of the Philippine Sports Commission, as she guests in the sports agency’s web series Rise Up, Shape Up on Saturday.

The PSC continues to recognize ground-breaking, inspiring, and outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of women and sports at the grassroots level.

Garcia, a native of Barangay Coliling, San Carlos, Pangasinan, was chosen by a select panel of judges, as a notable model athlete, especially for persons with special abilities.

She was in Grade 7 when her parents and teachers found out that she has a learning disability.

Garcia needed extra patience and attention in her academic activities and her teachers were there to assist and support her, providing her with opportunities outside the academe to develop herself and help her find other areas where she could excel.

Her teachers exposed her to sports and the exposure unlocked her running strength and agility.

Garcia began competing and winning in division-level meets, which boosted her self-confidence and enabled her to join national competitions like the 2017 Palarong Pambansa in Antique.

PSC Oversight Commissioner for Women in Sports Celia Kiram said Garcia’s recognition uplifts the sports community of female athletes and more so of athletes with special abilities.

“We often know of physically challenged athletes whose passion and dedication in sports allow them to triumph. The story of Rhea encourages us to see para-athletes from a different viewpoint. Her story is also proof that sports build character suited for success,” said Kiram who will also discuss the rules of Paralympics in her regular “K-Isport” segment. (PR)