PH 144-man athletic roster finalized for 11th Asean Para Games

MANILA – Raring and eager to spring into action, 144 athletes in 11 sports aim to make the flag and country proud in the 11th Asean Para Games scheduled from July 30 to Aug. 6 in Surakarta, Indonesia.

The list of the national squad bound for Indonesia was finalized last weekend, Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo said, announcing the composition of the contingent on Thursday.

"This is a hungry team, a fighting team that is eager to showcase their skills and talent after being deprived of international competition for over two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic," Barredo said in a news release.

"I would not be surprised at all if many of our national para athletes will strive harder than ever before in making the most of this opportunity to bring honors to our country in the 11th Asean Para Games," he said.

The PPC chief was grateful for the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in enabling the national para athlete to train intensively inside a bubble for over a month at the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City to gear themselves for the regional meet.

"We would like to thank the PSC's support for our national para athletes in their bubble training at the PhilSports Complex for over a month without any distractions," Barredo said.

"This training has armed them well for the action ahead in Indonesia," said Barredo, who is optimistic that the PH campaigners would surpass their 20 gold, 20 silver and 29 bronze medals, good for fifth overall, in the last 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The track and field team has the biggest number of entries with 24, led by Tokyo Paralympic Games veterans, thrower Jeanette Aceveda, and wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan, who was named skipper of the PH athletic contingent.

Next is the 22-man chess team, bannered by 2017 Malaysia Asean Para Games triple gold medalist and FIDE Master Sander Severino, while the 12-man swimming team is led by Ernie Gawilan, who has won seven golds in the regional showcase for para athletes.

Archery has nine members, badminton (8), boccia (4), goalball (6), judo (5), powerlifting (8), sitting volleyball (10), table tennis (13), while men's and women's wheelchair basketball has 12 and 11 members, respectively.

Fully funded by the PSC, Barredo will head the 212-man delegation scheduled to leave on a chartered flight for the Java provincial capital of Surakarta on July 26. (PR)