PHNOM PENH — A battle-scarred swimming duo, a tested thrower and a glory-seeking power lifter put on a magnificent show to fuel the Philippines’ early gold rush in the 12th ASEAN Para Games at different venues here at the Cambodian capital on Sunday.
Paralympians Gary Bejino and Ernie Gawilan delivered the country’s first two gold medals with the former reigning supreme in the men’s 400-meter freestyle S6 in five minutes and 38.26 seconds and the latter in the 400m freestyle S7 where he timed in 4:58.78.
It was a record-breaking effort for the 27-year-old Mr. Bejino as he shattered the old mark of 6:07.99 set by Aung Myint Myat of Myanmar, who saw action here but wound up with a silver i9n 6:04.17, six years ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Mr. Bejino, a Tabaco, Albay native who also scheduled to compete in the 200m, 100m and 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 4x100m medley relay where he and Mr. Gawilan leading the squad.
Cendy Asusano, for her part, owned the training field at the Morodok Techno National Stadium and seized the gold in the women’s shot put F54 where she heaved 5.77m and bested Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thuy and another Philippine bet Marites Burce, who took the silver and bronze with a 5.48m and 4.84m, respectively.
The 33-year-old Ms. Asusano vowed to add two more mints in javelin today and discus throw Wednesday.
Ms. Asusano, who had already sniped a total of six gold in all including three in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 and two last year in Surakarta, Indonesia.
Over at the National Paralympic Committee Hall, Marydol Pamati-an finally hit it big after a long search and struck gold in the women’s 41-kilogram division.
She could have snatched a second one but settled for a silver after she lost via tiebreak to Indonesian Eneng Paridah even though they both had the best lift of 75kg.
Achelle Guion, a Paralympic veteran, chipped in a couple of silver in the women’s 45kg division.
Also at the pool, Ariel Joseph Alegarbes, the flag-bearer and a triple gold winner in Surakarta, pocketed the silver in the 100m breaststroke SB14 with a clocking of 1:13.59.
Malaysian Mohd Adib Igbal Abdullah captured the gold in 1:09.54 while Singapore’s Darren Wei Siang Chan the bronze in 1:18.82.
In chess at the Royal University, Sander Severino and the extraordinary Filipino woodpushers continued to inch closer to gold as they led in three of the six classes in rapid.
Mr. Severino, who is out to equal if not improve on a quadruple-gold haul last time, drew with fellow FIDE Master Maksum Firdaus of Indonesia to share the lead in the men’s PI class with countryman Henry Lopez, a winner over teammate Jasper Rom, with 3.5 points apiece after four rounds in this six-round meet.
Also in gold contention were Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza, who currently leads the women’s PI division with 3.5 points, and Darry Bernardo, who won all his first four games including one over Indonesia’s Gayuh Satrio to jump to the top with a full one-point lead. — Joey Villar