FILIPINO para athletes have been drawing an unprecedented support from government and are extremely thankful with the passionate treatment accorded them by Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez.
“The Chairman [Ramirez] always says ‘he has a soft spot in his heart for the para athletes. And he truly inspires our para athletes with what he does in PSC,” said Francis Diaz, Team Philippines’s chef de mission to the Asean Para Games the country is hosting from March 20 to 28.
“The PSC support is blockbuster. The national government through the PSC is practically funding all the training, international competitions of all our para athletes. We are very thankful for that commitment.” Diaz added.
From 2017 to 2019, the PSC spent P182 million for the training and exposure of Filipino para athletes.
With the PSC’s backing, table tennis Paralympian Josephine Medina won a gold medal at the 2019 International Table Tennis Federation Para Bangkok Open in Thailand and was behind the historic 10-gold, eight-silver and 11-bronze medal haul of the national para team at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia.
The medalists in Indonesia received a total of P16.2 million in cash incentive from the PSC.
Under Ramirez’s watch, para athletes are now receiving the same benefits as their able-bodied counterparts in the national team.
Diaz said the PSC’s support helped the Philippine Paralympic Committee discover more talents for the national pool.
The Philippines will field 250 athletes—plus 80 officials in the Asean Para Games that will be played at the New Clark City, Subic and Metro Manila. In the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Para Games, the country sent 80 athletes and 20 officials with the team finishing fifth on 20 gold, 20 silver and 29 bronze medals.
There are 16 regular sports on the Philippine Asean Para Games—archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, bowling, chess, cycling, 7-a-side CP football, goalball, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, triathlon and wheelchair basketball and one demonstration sport, para obstacle.