Para athletes touched by show of support in 'Lakad Para sa Atleta'

Jun 23, 2019
PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

IT was a day of celebration for para athletes as government and the private sector came together for the inaugural Lakad Para Atleta on Saturday at the University of the Philippines College of Science Oval in Quezon City.

Citi Philippines worked with the Philippine Paralympic Committee and Philippine Olympic Committee to raise awareness and funds for the para athletes' participation in the 10th ASEAN Para Games in January 2020 at the New Clark City Sports Complex,

Swimmer Ernie Gawilan, sprinter Jerrold Mangliwan and powerlifter Adeline Ancheta-Dumapong were pleased by the show of support for the para athletes.

“Masaya po kami kasi napapansin na ang mga PWD at nakakatuwa kasi kasabay namin ‘yung mga kilalang atleta dito sa atin,” said Gawilan, the first-ever Filipino gold medalist in the 2018 Asian Para Games.

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“Mahalaga sa amin kasi bilang para athletes, gusto rin naming na maipaabot sa mga kagaya namin na may sports din para sa mga kagaya namin and welcome kami sa community,” he added.

“Malaking tulong para sa amin ito lalo na ‘yung pag recognize doon sa mga para athletes,” said Mangliwan. “Kasi sa atin hindi pa gaanong kilala [and Para Games], so thankful kami na may mga ganitong events na may mga nagpu-push na ma-include kami sa mga programa at least ma-recognize ang sector ng PWD.”

Around 3,000 participants, including 800 employees of Citi Philippines, took part in the charity walk led by athletics legend Elma Muros and Andy Avellana who started the torch relay.

Olympics bronze medalist Roel Velasco, former swimmer Christine Jacob. former taekwondo jin Stephan Fernandez, para table tennis player Josephine Medina, and basketball great Freddie Webbalso took part in the walk.

“Dati kasama naman kami, kasama ang mga para-athletes, pero this is the first time na ang nag-initiate is ‘yung kabila,” said Dumapong-Araneta, who claimed a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Para Games powerlifting competition in Indonesia.

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“Nakakatuwa kasi sa panahon ngayon malaking usapin ang inclusion, tapos para magsama-sama ang mga Olympians and Para-lympians malaking bagay ‘yun para sa mga para movements sa Philippines kasi the athletes would feel na may support din and they would feel na they are together,” she added.

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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