August 17, 2022
Rookie swimmer Ariel Joseph  Alegarbes captures his third gold medal and Sander Severino leads the chess team to cap the Philippines’ best outing in the ASEAN Para Games

SURAKARTA, Indonesia  – Chess capped the Philippine campaign in the 11th ASEAN Para Games on a golden note Friday, August 5, with a sweep of the men’s B2-B3 and women’s P1 individual and team blitz events at the Lo-rin Hotel.  

Darry Bernardo took the individual gold while anchoring  the squad that also included Menandro Redor and Arman Subaste in the men’s B2-B3 category, while Cheyzer Mendoza did the same in teaming up with Cheryl Angot and Jean-Lee Nacita in the women’s P1 class.  

Slipping through the  Filipinos’ fingers were the two mints at stake in the men’s P1 blitz event as FIDE Master Sander Severino wound up  with an individual silver while his partners Henry Mendoza and Felix Aguilera also took team runner-up honors. 

Nonetheless, Severino emerged as the country’s most bemedaled athlete with four golds and two silvers in the 11-nation regional meet. 

With the four gold, two silvers, and one bronze medal that the Philippine chessers bagged, the country likewise had its all-time best outing in the Para Games with 28 gold, 28 silver, and 44 bronze medals, eclipsing the 20-20-29 tally in placing fifth overall in the 2017 Malaysian edition.  

The performance also exceeded the previous best of the country of 24-24-26 in the 2009 meet also held in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.  

Pending the finals standings, the Philippines’ medal haul ought to be good for fourth overall. As of 7 pm, host Indonesia was on top of the heap with a whopping tally of 134-102-94, followed by Thailand at second (92-88-63), and Vietnam at third (57-49-40).  

Earlier, swimming sustained its winning drive by adding three more golds, with rookie Ariel Joseph Alegarbes completing a sweep of his three events in another meet record.

Alegarbes took off like a torpedo in ruling the men’s 50-meter freestyle S14 race in 25.74 seconds in securing his third straight gold medal, duplicating the feat of female teammate Angel Otom last Thursday in the stint supported by the PhilippineSports Commission.  

The 18-year-old Alegarbes, who also reigned in record fashion in the 100m backstroke S14 (1:03.01) and 50m butterfly S14 (26.43 seconds), said his triple gold came as a surprise.

“This is totally unexpected, but once again I thank my father Abner for introducing me to swimming so I could overcome my asthma as a young boy,” said Alegarbes, who also won gold and silver medal in the Asian Youth Para Games in Manama, Bahrain last December. 

Fellow newcomer Marco Tinamisan sustained his sweet performance with his second straight gold medal while Gary Bejino finally scored a breakthrough after two runner-up finishes in capturing his first gold in the swimming competition.  

Tinamisan bagged the gold in the men’s 100m freestyle S3 event in a winning time of 1:54.15, while Tokyo Paralympic veteran Bejino ruled the men’s 100m freestyle S6 race in 1:13.80 to raise the Philippine para swimming team’s gold total to 12.  

Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo, who is back in Manila, dedicated the contingent’s sterling showing to the late Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos, who had urged Barredo to form the para sports group in 1996, which was then known as the Philippine Sports Association of Differently-abled Athletes. 

“It was FVR (Ramos’s popular initials) who initiated the formation of the para movement in the country so we pay our tribute to the late president in offering the showing of our athletes in the 11th ASEAN Para Games in Indonesia to him,” said Barredo.     

Other athletes contributing silvers to the Philippine campaign were Marcelo Burgos and Angelo Manangdang, who were seeing action in their first international tournament, in the men’s compound doubles in archery, and Andrew Kevin Arandia in the men’s singles event Class 9 of table tennis.  

Thailand, meanwhile, buried the Philippines in a hail of triples on the way to an 87-36 romp in capturing the men’s wheelchair 5×5 basketball gold at the GOR Sritex Arena. – Rappler.com

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