PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – The Philippine flag was formally raised alongside the 10 colors from other participating countries during the 12th ASEAN Para Games team welcome ceremony at the Morodok Techo National Stadium here on Friday.
Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) President Michael Barredo and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner and Chef-de-mission Walter Torres joined the 30 athletes and coaches in singing the national anthem in the event attended by delegates from Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Timor Leste, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and host Cambodia.
Torres also presented a Philippine handicraft to the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia and the National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia (NPCC) Board of Directors Vice President Hun Many and NPCC Secretary General Yi Veasna during the exchange of souvenirs.
More than 2,600 athletes, coaches and officials are taking part in the Games which will officially open on June 4.
Swimmer Ariel Joseph Alegrabres, a triple-gold winner in 2022, will serve as flag-bearer, leading a select group of 50 athletes and officials, during the opening ceremony.
A total of 24 gold medals are at stake in the first day of the athletics competition.
“We are ready," said track and field coach Joel Deriada, who is aiming to improve their medal haul of six golds, four silvers and 14 bronzes last year in Surakarta, Indonesia.
Also scheduled to see action on June 4 are swimmers Gary Bejino (S6) and Ernie Gawilan (S7) in the 400m freestyle event. Both competed at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
“Our goal is to make the country proud,” said Tony Ong, head of the national swimming team coaching staff composed of Olympian and Asian Games gold medalist Ral Rosario, Brian Ong (Strength and Conditioning/coach) and Leonardo Ramos.
The Philippines ranked fifth overall in the last Para Games with 104 medals -- 28 golds, 30 silvers and 46 bronzes. (PNA)