PH Paralympic Committee looking forward to busy year amid uncertainty
Talks have been swirling that the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics is in peril of being called off, a sorry sight that will directly affect the hosting of the Paralympics.
For its part, however, the Philippine Paralympic Committee has proceeded with caution despite the uncertainty by naming UP College of Human Kinetics Dean Francis Carlos Diaz as the country’s chef de mission to the Tokyo Paralympics.
Swimmer Ernie Gawilan, who captured the first Asian Para Games gold medal for Team Philippines in 2018, has already qualified for the Paralympics on Aug. 24 to Sept. 5 while 2016 Paralympics bronze medalist Josephine Medina is likewise a favorite to book a spot in table tennis.
“We are looking forward to a busy calendar for our para athletes. In fact, preparations for major events this year have already started,” said PPC president Michael Barredo.
Aside from the appointment of Diaz, CDMs were likewise named to the 11th Asean Para Games in Hanoi, Vietnam (Dec. 17-23) and Asian Youth Para Games in Bahrain (Dec. 1-10).
PPC secretary general Walter Torres will be the CDM in the Asean Para Games while Judd Anastacio has been tasked to handle the affairs in the Asian Youth Para Games.
Filipino para athletes have also begun to train their sights to the 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China scheduled in the latter part of 2022 where Gawilan will defend his 200m individual medley crown.
While para athletes have confined their training indoors, the PPC has been working on advertising para sports locally by conducting a series of webinars, which are being live streamed every Saturday with the Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled (Philspada).
“Conducted by our very own para head coaches, these webinars are designed to promote and develop para sports in the country,” said Barredo.
Para sports have been gaining popularity at a fast pace globally over the years as physically challenged athletes excel in disciplines where most able-bodied people will find it difficult to achieve.