Rio-bound swimmer Ernie Gawilan heads 570 athletes in 5th National Para Games
Mike Barredo says the national games for the differently abled has lured 570 athletes from across hte country. Reuben Terrado 

DIFFERENTLY-abled athletes take centerstage in 5th PSC-Philspada National Para Games set March 27 to April 2 at the Marikina Sports Center.

Athletics, swimming, badminton, chess, boccia, powerlifting, goalball, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, and bowling competitions are set for athletes who are visually-impaired, deaf, with cerebral palsy, intellectually disability and orthopedically handicapped.

Top para-athletes, including 2016 Paralympics qualifier Ernie Gawilan of swimming will see action against aspiring members of the national squad.

“We hope to drum up more participation to identify talents at ma-challenge ‘yung mga national teams,” said Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled (Philspada) president Mike Barredo at the Philippine Sports Commission office on Tuesday.

The meet, held separately from the Philippine National Games to give more exposure to the Filipino para-athletes, has lured 570 athletes from across the country.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports