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Philippines eyes 27 golds in ASEAN Para Games

Paralympics veteran Josephine Medina of table tennis is expected to strike gold in the ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ differently abled athletes are hoping to make up for the country’s disastrous performance in the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games as they shoot for nothing less than 27 gold medals in the ASEAN Para Games set September 17 to 23 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“We’re looking to win 27 gold medals, perhaps more,” said Philippine chef de mission Ral Rosario in Monday night’s sendoff at the Dads Restaurant in Edsa, Mandaluyong.

The Philippines took home 16 golds in Singapore.

Should the country achieve its target, it will sooth the pain of the embarrassing 24-gold, sixth place finish in the SEAG just over a week ago.

Commissioners Celia Kiram and Arnold Agustin were among the well-wishers of the team along with newly formed Philippine Paralympics Committee president Mike Barredo and vice president Tom Carrasco.

Nikko Huelgas and Claire Adorna, who took a gold and a silver in SEAG triathlon, also attended the event to give the athletes inspirational messages.

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The Filipino woodpushers will lead the charge as they eye seven golds, one more than their six-gold haul in the Singapore Para Games two years ago.

Chesser Minandro Ridor was given the honor of being the country’s flag-bearer after he raked in a four-gold haul in the visually impaired 2 division, which is for partially blind participants.

“Representing the country is already a proud accomplishment for me, being the flag-bearer made me even prouder,” said Ridor in Filipino.

Wheelchair-bound FIDE Master Sander Severino and Henry Lopez are also part of the team with hopes of sweeping the individual and team events of standard and rapid.

Paralympics veteran Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta of powerlifting and Josephine Medina of table tennis are also expected to strike gold.

Dumapong-Ancheta made history by becoming the country’s first medal winner in the Paralympics after she claimed a bronze in the 2000 Sydney Games while Medina bagged a bronze in Rio de Janerio, Brazil last year.

The country is fielding in athletes in athletics (nine), badminton (seven), boccia (three), chess (17), cycling (three), goal ball (six), powerlifting (five), table tennis (nine), swimming (10), tenpin bowling (15) and wheelchair basketball (12).

Rosario was the first to leave to country early Tuesday to attend the chef de mission meeting the same day.

The rest of the delegation follow suit today with the first batch, the bigger one, fly in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

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