The powerlifting competition of the 12th ASEAN Para Games will begin on Sunday with five Filipinos setting their sights on the gold medals when they see action at the National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia (NPCC) Hall in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Veterans Achelle Guion (women's up to 45kg), Marydol Pamati-an (up to 41kg) and Romeo Tayawa (men's up to 54kg) are seeking to improve their medal performances at the 2022 edition while Rose Ann Lita (women's up to 50kg) and Jules Empizo (men's up to 49kg) are hoping to make an impressive debut.
Guion delivered two silver medals last year. She also won a silver at the 2018 Asian Games (Indonesia) and competed at the 2012 London Paralympics.
Pamati-an and Tayawa, on the other hand, bagged two bronze medals each in the 2022 edition.
The national para powerlifting team's coaching staff is composed of Rico Canlas (head), Allan Paje and Daisy Lipasana.
Lipasana, 23, joined the coaching staff team only this year. She is a national powerlifter and had played for the varsity judo team of University of Santo Tomas where she earned a sports management degree (cum laude).
"We have been asking for a female coach for so long. Finally, our request was granted," said five-time Paralympian Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta in an interview on Saturday.
"It's an achievement for the powerlifting team to have a female coach. There are certain needs of athletes that only a female coach can assist with," shared the 49-year-old native of Kiangan, Ifugao province.
Dumapong-Ancheta, the first Filipino Paralympics medalist after winning the bronze in Sydney, Australia (2000), has won nine gold medals at the ASEAN Para Games since her debut in 2001 (Malaysia).
Last year, she settled for two silver medals in the +86kg category, losing to Indonesia's Sriyanti, the 2021 World Para Powerlifting World Cup gold medalist.
"I beat her for the gold medal at the 2017 ASEAN Para Games. She's younger and has become stronger," said Dumapong-Ancheta, who is scheduled to compete on June 7.
"All of us came here prepared. We are determined to win, we will do our best," added the five-time Asian Para Games silver medalist.
The other members of the team are Denesia Esnara (2022 ASEAN Para Games bronze medalist), Cherrylyn Sugue, Jeffrey Jaramillo, Carlo John Nuyda and Gregorio Payat Jr.