The triumphant Philippine para team that competed in the just-concluded 11th ASEAN Para Games can expect a grand heroes’ welcome from top Philippine Paralympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission officials at the airport on Sunday.
With the exception of the wheelchair basketball squads, majority of the Philippine contingent that took part in the regional sportsfest will touch down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 aboard a Philippine Airlines chartered flight a little past noon.
The para-athletes will be given a red-carpet treatment by officials led by PPC President Mike Barredo and PSC Commissioner Olivia “Bong” Coo, who offered their congratulations for their efforts in overcoming all odds in producing the country’s all-time high in the ASEAN Para Games.
Competing in 14 disciplines, the Philippine standard-bearers will be coming home with 28 gold, 28 silver, and 47 bronze medals (based on unofficial count of the PPC), exceeding the previous best of 24-24-26 in the 2009 edition held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
With most of the Philippine bets vying in their first international competition for the first time in five years, the country maintained their No. 5 ranking in the unofficial medal standings as of noon in Surakarta on Saturday.
Based on the APG website, host Indonesia was expectedly on top of the medal standings with a grand tally 177-141-110, Thailand was running second (117-116-87), Vietnam was in third (64-60-56) and Malaysia fourth (36-20-14).
“We are all so proud of our Filipino para-athletes in overcoming many severe challenges so they can excel and come back to the country with their best performance yet in the 11th ASEAN Para Games,” said Barredo of the outing funded by the PSC.
“Although we finished in fifth place once again, the marked improvement in our medal output showed how determined and hungry our athletes were to perform in Malaysia."
“Ang buong Pilipinas ay ipinagdiriwang ang tagumpay ng ating mga para-athletes sa 11th ASEAN Para Games,” Coo said.
“Ito ay patunay na para sa atletang Pilipino ay walang anumang balakid o kakulangan ang makakahadlang kung ang nakataya ay karangalan ng bayan.,” she stressed. “Buong-buo ang iyong puso para sa bansa."
PSC Executive Director and acting officer-in-charge Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr. also lauded the achievements of the Philippine para-athletes.
“This is another milestone for Team Philippines. We have surpassed our past APG participation with this big medal haul for this edition. The agency thanks you all for such an inspiring performance. We are all very proud of you,” Iroy said.