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Philippine delegation to Para Games finalized at 259 athletes and officials

THE PHILIPPINES will sail out to eclipse its performance in the last staging of the ASEAN Para Games a year ago in Solo, Indonesia as it wades into battle in this year’s edition set June 3 to 9 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“Surpass the medal haul of 28 gold, 30 silver and 46 bronze medals from the last APG,” said Philippine Sports Commission board member and the national team’s Phnom Penh Games chef-de-mission Walter Torres.

Mr. Torres said they would send a better team on this one as the 259-strong delegation boasts of veterans from the three sports that accounted for all its golden harvest in Solo — swimming (12 gold), chess (10) and athletics (six).

Interestingly, the country is also using the biennial tilt as part of its preparations for bigger competitions ahead — the Hangzhou Asian Para Games late this year and the Paris Paralympics next year.

“Our veteran Para athletes from athletics, swimming and chess are stronger and motivated to do even better in preparation for the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou and qualifying leading to the Paris Paralympics,” said Mr. Torres.

The squad has also inserted teams in goal ball and football for the first time with hopes to add to the nation’s medal haul.

“We also have new teams in goalball and football where we are making a debut with a possibility of a podium finish,” he said.

The team will be paced anew by Sander Severino, who emerged the most be-medalled Filipino with four gold in chess in Solo, and flag-bearer Ariel Alegarbes, who had three gold in swimming. — Joey Villar

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