THE Philippine team seeing action in the 11th ASEAN Para Games slated July 30 to Aug. 6 in Solo, Indonesia left the country yesterday with one goal in mind—make the country proud.
The bulk of the 212-strong delegation flew to Solo via a chartered flight arranged by the Philippine Sports Commission that included an optimistic 22-strong chess team seeking to harvest multiple gold medals.
“We will do our best for the country,” said national para chess tean coach James Infiesto, whose team will be bannered by quadruple 2018 Jakarta Asian Games gold medalist Sander Severino.
The PSC had given its full support to the team via the P31.7 million released to cover the Nationals’ actual participation not to mention the P10.4 million for training equipment, supplies and uniforms and P7.7 million for their bubble training months before.
“We support our national para-athletes as much as we support our abled athletes. This is their chance to raise the flag again in the 11th ASEAN Para Games,” said PSC executive director and officer-in-charge Atty. Guillermo B. Iroy Jr.
“We wish them all the best this APG. They are the greatest pride of the country, especially for the PWD community. We are all behind them, win or lose,” he added.
Chess is one of the sports the country is expected to draw its victories and help duplicate, if not surpass, its 20-gold, 20-silver and 20-bronze medal haul in the biennial games that will finally push through after several cancellations and postponements due to the pandemic.
The team will also to try to improve on its four-gold, three-silver, nine-bronze haul in Kuala Lumpur where Severino encountered some rough patches and wound up with three mints.
But with the addition of blitz where the country is strong at and the strengthening of the women’s team with the arrival of Cheyzer Mendoza, a talented former University of the Philippines standout, there were high hopes the Filipino chessers could reach new heights.
Chess will stake a total of 36 golds—12 in standard, 12 in rapid and 12 in blitz—spread in different classes of disability.