LONDON - Excited but confident is what can be gleaned from the faces of the nine Filipino athletes competing in the 2012 London Paralympics.
It’s their first time in the United Kingdom and they are ready for the Paralympics on Wednesday, August 29.
The Filipino athletes will compete in four sports events--swimming, table tennis, power lifting and athletics.
Of the nine athletes, officials said its Josephine Medina in table tennis who has a big potential to garner a medal.
Medina's one leg is shorter.
“Prepared po, pero kaya lang, of course, nervous and also the pressure is on me because they're all thinking about the potential. But it's a tough game, because table tennis includes the best player selection. We're only 8, and it's from the best countries, especially in Europe,” said Medina.
The most veteran among the athletes is 38-year old Adeline Dumapong of Ifugao.
A polio victim, Dumapong earned a bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics in the power lifting event.
This will be her 4th Paralympics.
“Kahit na tumatanda naman, kaya naman. It's mind over matter. At kasi bago naman ako nag-stay dito sa power lifting na ito, nag-usap kami nung coach ko. Sabi ko, 'ano ba itong edad?'. May shelf life talaga, Riyalidad yon. Sabi naman ni coach, 'hindi. Okay lang yon.' Up to 40-45, pwede pa akong makalaro. Sana naman, mag-pe-peak pa tayo. Talagang we're all hoping for the best,” said Dumapong.
Chief of Mission for the Philippine Team is Gerardo "Ral" Rosario, Executive Director of the Philippine Sports for the Disabled.
Rosario was a champion swimmer and veteran of the 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Rosario is confident the athletes will give their best shot as they went through serious rigid training.
“We'd like to go in a more rigid training, baka kulang lang sa budget, so hindi mo masasabi na nag-full year's training sila. But we're doing the best that we can in terms of the budget that we're allocated,” said Rosario.
Upon arrival at the Heathrow airport, the Philippine Team proceeded immediately to the Olympic Village.
Leading the welcome committee at the airport was Deputy Chief of Mission Rey Catapang.