MANILA—The Philippines hopes to continue its impressive showing by sending 38 athletes to the 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games set June 20 to July 4 in Athens.
The Filipinos collected nine gold medals in the previous staging of the event for intellectually-challenged athletes in Shanghai, China, four years ago and officials are confident of another creditable showing this year.
Bowling standout Roxanne Salve Ng and powerlifter Louie John Decolongon, who bagged gold medals in Shanghai, will again lead the contingent in Greece.
Maria Therese Macapagal, head of the Philippine delegation, Macapagal hopes the performance of the athletes will inspire Filipinos and also put to light the plight of people with intellectual disabilities.
“Our campaign is awareness through sports,” she said, noting that those participating are athletes who are either autistic, with down syndrome or cerebral palsy. “We have won gold medals in the Special Olympics which is even better than our real Olympians.”
Alexander Babst, the executive director of Special Olympics in the Philippines, noted that having representatives in the World Games is a triumph in itself because of the sacrifices made by the athletes and the coaches.
“The Special Olympics has been all about volunteerism,” said Babst.
The Filipino athletes will compete in six events in Greece—athletics, aquatics, badminton, bowling, gymnastics and powerlifting.