The Philippine Paralympic team headed by Chief Francis Carlos Diaz competed at the Asian Paralympics Games in Jakarta, Indonesia with high hopes of representing the country and making the country proud.
Pinoy athletes with disabilities did not disappoint their countrymen and proved that the country can also dominate at the Asian elite level of competition.
It is very rare especially in the international games that we see the Philippine flag raised and our national anthem played in the medal tally.
Despite their disabilities, the para-athletes showed that it was not a barrier to achieve their dreams and to showcase their talents.
Many historic moments happened in Indonesia with the country’s improvement from its previous performance in 2014, from clinching the first-ever gold medal of the Philippines and the domination of the p1 chess, men’s singles and team event, and seeing the three Philippine flags raised in the awarding ceremony.
The Philippine delegation garnered 29 medals, ten of them gold, 8 silvers, and 11 bronze and placed 11th overall out of 43 participating nations.
Chess and swimming were the primary contributors to the Philippines medal tally.
The country also claimed a medal in cycling, bowling, powerlifting and table tennis.
The Philippines surpassed its previous performance in the 2014 Incheon Para Games where the country won five silver and five bronze medals and in the 2010 Guangzhou Para Games where they only managed to snatch four silver and three bronze medals.
Three Philippine flags were raised in the medal ceremony for the first time after the 3-chess para-athletes’ victory. It is amazing to see that this is happening in the sports history of our country.
In Republic Act 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, an Asian Para Games gold medalist will have a cash incentive of 1 million while a silver medalist P500,000-cash incentive and a bronze medalist, equivalent to P200,000.
With improved financial support from both the government and the private sectors, many athletes are determined to work harder and continue to make historic moments for our country, especially now that the Philippines will host the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
For a long time, the Filipinos especially the athletes and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) are hungry to achieve the first gold medal of the Philippines at the Olympics.
People are hoping that in the near future the Philippines will get its first ever gold medal in the Olympics, both in the Para Games and in the Summer Games. Many Filipinos would really love to see that happen.