PARA GAMES. Philippine powerlifting squad led by flag-bearer Achelle “Jinky” Guion (right) and 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games bronze medalist Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta (fifth from left) pose with PSC staff led by NSA Affairs chief Annie Ruiz (sixth from left) during a break in training in the 11th ASEAN Para Games in Surakarta, Indonesia. Guion is the country’s flag bearer in the quadrennial meet. (PH para team photo)

SURAKARTA, Indonesia – Flag-bearer Achelle “Jinky” Guion got a timely break when her event in the women’s powerlifting competition was reset to two days after the formal opening of the 11th Asean Para Games on Saturday at the Manahan Stadium here.

“Malaking tuwa ko po nang malaman ko na na-reset yung dates. At least may isang araw pa akong pahinga bago maglaro (I was so happy when I learned that the dates have been reset. At least I still have one day to rest before my game),” said Guion after learning of the welcome news last Wednesday that the start of the powerlifting tournament at the Paragon Hotel was moved to August. 1.

In the original schedule, the 51-year-old pride of Sipalay, Negros Occidental was supposed to compete in the women’s 45-kilogram division on Sunday or just a day after the inaugural rites at the 20,000-capacity arena located in the heart of the Central Java provincial capital.

“Dahil magiging mabigat sa akin, magpapatulong na akong buhatin yung flag sa Sabado para hindi na ako masyadong mahirapan (Since the flag is too heavy for me, I will ask assistance on Saturday),” she added.

A back-to-back silver medalist in the 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta Asian Para Games, Guion, however, declined what medal color she would deliver for the country since looming as her fierce rival in the weight class was hometown bet Ni Nengah Widiasih. Competing in the women’s 41-kg. class, Widiasih bagged a silver in last year’s Tokyo Paralympic Games.

“Hindi po ako siguradong magsabi na maka-gold kasi malakas yung Indonesian (Widiasih). Palipat-lipat siya ng weight category lalo na sila ang host. Hindi ko alam kung saan siya maglalaro (I’m not sure if I will win gold because the Indonesian is strong. She competes in different weight category and they are also the host. I’m not sure in what event she will compete),” bared Guion, whose personal best lift is 73 kilos.

This was set when the athlete placed eighth overall in the women’s 45-kg. category of the world para powerlifting championships last November in Tbilisi, Georgia.

National coach Rico Canlas said there are five women and three men in the national para powerlifting squad, among them, reigning women’s +86-kg. queen Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta, in the stint bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Also in the group are veteran Marydol Pamatian, who will vie in the women’s 41-kg. class, Denesia Apote Esnara (50-kg.), Agustin Kitan and Romeo Tayawa, who will both compete in the men’s 54-kg. category, and Gregorio Damian Payat Jr., who sees action in the men’s 59-kg. division.

“Everyone on our team wants to win but I don’t want to make any medal forecast so as not to pressure our athletes,” said Canlas, who was hoping to surpass the one gold and one bronze medal won in the 2017 Malaysia Asean Para Games. (PR)