Team PH ends bountiful Para Youth Games harvest
Team Philippines just recorded its finest finish yet in the history of the quadrennial Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG).
Counting the multiple-medal outputs of swimmer Ariel Joseph Alegarbes and Linard Sultan of table tennis, the country wrapped up its campaign on Monday with an inspiring tally of one gold, six silver and two bronze medals among the most competitive 21-under para athletes in the continent.
Kicking off his stint with a gold medal in the men’s 100-meter butterfly S14, the 17-year-old Alegarbes of Victorias City, Negros Occidental, added silvers in the 100m breaststroke S14 and 100m backstroke S14 on the last three days of competition.
According to Team Philippines chef de mission lawyer Judd Anastacio, the golden feat of Alegarbes is the nation’s first in AYPG swimming and for the intellectually impaired.
Sultan likewise had a pair of silvers in the men’s single class 8 and the mixed team with Singapore and Kuwait, giving the nation a timely boost to upstage previous performances in 2013 Kuala Lumpur and 2017 Dubai.
“I’ve been telling the team that we have three competitions. The COVID-19 testing, the classification and the Games proper,’’ said Anastacio, who brought along 20 para athletes from six sports in Manama, Bahrain, all of them supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
“We are very pleased we have done well for all. I told the delegation that we will go home with medals and a lot of experience. We are all winners,’’ added Anastacio.
Tracksters Daniel Enderes Jr., who claimed the silver medal in the men’s 1500m T20, and Ronn Russel Mitra also grabbed silver in the men’s 400m, while swimmer Angel Mae Otom seized the bronze medal in the women’s 100m butterfly S1-10 Multi class.
Mary Eloise Sable completed the cast of podium finishers with a bronze in the women’s mixed team table tennis with Malaysia.
“Overall, the level of competition at the Asian level is challenging, but the delegation was able to prove that we can match and even better their performances even though under the pandemic,’’ said Anastacio.
“We just took it one day at a time,’’ added Anastacio, whose team hashtag in social media is #WinTheDay.
In 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Team Philippines pocketed one gold and one silver along with five bronzes, but could only bring home one bronze in the 2017 Dubai edition.
The minimum age to participate in the Games is 13 years old while the maximum is 21 years old.
Other sports where Filipino para youth athletes competed in the week-long sportsfest were wheelchair basketball, badminton and boccia. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.