Powerlifters eye two golds in Para Games
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—The powerlifting team is eyeing to win two gold medals including one from a pioneering Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta in the ninth ASEAN Para Games unfurling on Sunday at the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex here.
Dumapong-Ancheta, 43, is looking to strike gold in the over-86 kilograms division while the other one 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 here.
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 have 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 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.
Truly, para athletes now could receive as incentive P150,000 if one snares the gold, P75,000 for a silver and P30,000 for a bronze compared to the P15,000, P10,000 and P5,000 for gold, silver and bronze received in the past because of the new revised law authored by Sen. Sonny Angara.
Aside from it, the Phl Sports Commission grants gold medal winners like Dumapong-Ancheta a monthly stipend worth P27,000, silver P22,000 and bronze P15,000 while developmental athletes and pool members receive P10,000 to P12,000 monthly.
“In fairness, PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, since he took over last year, has made sure we receive our monthly salary on time,” said Dumapong-Ancheta.
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).