The Philippine powerlifting team is hoping to bring home two gold medals, including one from a pioneering Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta, from the 9th ASEAN Para Games, which starts on Sunday at the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur.
Dumapong-Ancheta, 43, is looking to strike gold in the over-86 kilograms division while the other gold could come from another grizzled veteran Achelle Guion, 44, in the 45-kg category.
“That’s the team’s target, to get two golds and if we’re lucky, we could get more,” said Dumapong-Ancheta, who was already competing years before the first-ever ASEAN Para Games was launched in 2001 also in Malaysia.
The other members of the team are Marydol Pamatian, who is seeking to improve her bronze medal effort in Singapore, Agustin Kitan and Romeo Tayawa.
All eyes though are on Dumapong-Ancheta, who could be competing in one of her last, if not last, few games before she retires.
Whatever happens, the proud Ifugao native has emerged as one of the most decorated Filipino para athletes after having won four golds in this biennial meet, two silvers in the Asian Para Games and the country’s very first medal in the Paralympics, a bronze in Sydney, Australia 17 years ago.
She has also endured the hardships that accompanied para athletes in past competitions.
“Before, we only train if there’s competition and there was even a time we only had one shirt with only our country’s flag as design. I also recall one time when we were refused entry into the athlete’s village because we haven’t paid our accommodation,” said Dumapong-Ancheta.
“I’m happy now that the conditions now have tremendously improved,” she added.
Meanwhile, all athletes have started to undergo the classification process.
The event has four different classifications—orthopedically handicapped, visual impairment, intellectual impairment and cerebral palsy—and several more categories under each.
The team has fielded in 98 athletes including three in boccia, 17 in chess, three in cycling, six in goal ball, five in powerlifting, nine in table tennis, 10 in swimming, 15 in tenpin bowling and 12 in wheelchair basketball.
Malaysia has the most number of athletes with 331 followed by Thailand (291), Indonesia (192), Vietnam (150) and Myanmar (120) while the other participants are Singapore (92), Cambodia (70), Laos (50), Brunei (27) and East Timor (14).
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