Filipino athletes indeed raised our flag as they came back home with 29 medals from the recently concluded Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.
But with or without medals, the 39 athletes the Philippines sent off to showcase what they can do in the international arena will still be the country’s pride.
Take it from Darvin Engracia, national sports director of the Philippine Special Olympics, who stressed that the goal of our athletes is to level up their performance whether they bag a medal or not.
“Kasi once na makita mo ang result ng training at makita mong mag-perform, at par or mas mataas pa sa what you expect, okay na yun. So with medal or no medal, ang importante sa amin ay makita sila na mag-excel sa sports na pinili nila,” Engracia said in a report.
However, even with that kind of expectation, Filipino athletes chose to play harder to bring home nine gold, 10 silver, and 10 bronze medals.
They competed in 24 sports events with around 7,500 athletes from 190 countries.
The Philippine team bagged gold medals in futsal, powerlifting, badminton, 50-meter backstroke swimming, ribbon-rhythmic gymnastics, ball-rhythmic gymnastics, 100-meter athletics, bocce and gymnastics all-around.
The Traditional Futsal Female team of the Philippines composed of Monalyn Berbon Villanueva, Rica Mae Campos Ninobla, Erica Mabalay Dulay, Charice Tatunay Galvez, Florence Tatunay Galvez, Erlinda Tubera Abellera, Catherine Ancheta Balang, and Monica Ancheta Mapalo beat Korea to win the gold.
Joana Yabes won a gold medal in powerlifting while Catherine Alexandra Managay bagged the gold in the Badminton Women’s Division Group G.
Swimmer Noel Celwyn Hallado Cartera ruled the 50-meter backstroke swimming category with a 32.40-seconds record.
Gymanst Aivie Luzari Dungca secured a gold medal in Rhythmic Gymnastics Level All Around event. She also won bronze medals in Level 1 Hoop, Level 1 Ball, and Level 1 Ribbon.
Other gymnasts, Carmela Basas, also won in two events while Aprila Hermosa bagged the gold medal in her event.
Sheila Galvez defeated Eleni Milliadou of Greece to bring home the gold medal in the bocce singles women’s event.
Janice Trinidad gave the team Philippines another gold after finishing the 100-meter run race with 14.53-seconds record.