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Saturday, June 3, 2017

First Philippine Paralympics Summit to Rally Support for Para Athletes


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Alay PARA Atleta Program launched; preparations underway for ASEAN PARA Games, Asian Para Games and Paralympic Games

The Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) and the Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled (PHILSPADA) will hold the first Philippine Para Sports Summit that will focus on the Parlympic movement in the country on June 9, 2017 at the Microtel, Technohub in Quezon City.

PPC, the National Paralympic Committee of the Philippines and PHILSPADA are the organizations spearheading the activities and operational requirements of elite athletes with a disability (orthopedic disability, cerebral palsy, visual impairment and mental disabilities).

With the theme “Transcending Barriers Through Sports”, the one-day gathering of sports officials, athletes, coaches and trainers, sports doctors, marketing experts and policy makers who are the key players in the industry will look into the state of Paralympic Sports in the Philippines to identify local and international goals to enable Filipino para athletes to achieve sporting excellence to excite and inspire the world.

Another goal of the convention is to find ways to develop para sports as a tool for changing the lives of Filipinos with disabilities while contributing to the development of an inclusive society. One hundred participants are expected to attend from various sports organizations including national sports associations, non-government organizations, private corporations and the government sector.

The past decade saw the rise of Filipino Para athletes in the global arena such as Josephine Medina, the para table tennis player who gave the country its second Paralympics Bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, sixteen years after powerlifter, Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta, got the first ever Bronze medal in the Sydney Paralympic Games in year 2000 and Ernie Gawilan, the legless swimming sensation discovered from Davao City, who is a consistent Gold medalist in the ASEAN Para Games ever since becoming a member of the national team. There has also been an increase in number of para athletes and their participation in local, regional and international competitions. Support and recognition from government and private partners, have also improved over the years.

The summit hopes to provide PPC-PHILSPADA with additional muscle and momentum as it strengthens itself to capably enact its comprehensive Mid-Term National Para Sports Development Program. The program will open up more opportunities for para-athletes from grassroots to the elite level of competitions.

With sights set on the 9th ASEAN Para Games in Malaysia this September 2017, the Asian Para Games in Indonesia in 2018, the 10th ASEAN Para Games in Manila and the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020, the para sports summit envisions key partnerships with government and private sector to further inspire and equip para-athletes who are only too eager to compete and do their part for the country’s glory.

Key speakers in the summit are: Chairman William I. Ramirez of the Philippine Sports Commission; Mr. Peping Cojuangco, President of the Philippine Olympic Committee; Michael Barredo, President of PPC-PHILSPADA; noted sports medicine expert Dr. Raul Canlas; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation expert, Dr. Raul Cembrano; Sec. General and former Olympic swimmer Gerardo “Ral” Rosario; para-coaches Joel Deriada of Athletics and Vernon Perea of Wheelchair Basketball; as well as para-athletes Gawilan, Medina and Dumapong-Ancheta.

An interesting sidelight of the event will be a Wheelchair Dance Sport exhibition while the high point of the summit will be the launch of the “Alay Para Atleta” program, a nationwide campaign that will enable the general public to participate in the Paralympic Movement via a P50 annual contribution through mobile phone access.

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