PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Three veterans and two rookies will kick off the country's medal hunt in the powerlifting competition of the 12th Asean Para Games on Sunday at the National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia (NPCC) Hall here. Achelle Guion (women's up to 45kg), Marydol Pamati-an (women's up to 41kg) and Romeo Tayawa (men's up to 54kg) are seeking to improve on their performances from the 2022 edition while Rose Ann Lita (women's up to 50kg) and Jules Empizo (men's up to 49kg) will try to make good impressions as newcomers. Guion delivered two silver medals in Jakarta last year, coming off a similar feat at the 2018 Asian Games, also in Indonesia. She likewise competed at the 2012 London Paralympics. Pamati-an and Tayawa, on the other hand, bagged two bronze medals each in Jakarta. The national para powerlifting team's coaching staff is composed of Rico Canlas, Allan Paje and Daisy Lipasana. Lipasana, 23, joined the coaching staff only this year. She is a national powerlifter and suited up 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," five-time Paralympian Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta said 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," added the 49-year-old native of Kiangan, Ifugao. Ancheta, the first Filipino Paralympics medalist after taking home a bronze from Sydney, Australia (2000), had won nine gold medals at the Asean Para Games since her debut in in Malaysia in 2001. 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 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." 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. The Philippines sent 174 para-athletes here to compete in 13 sports -- athletics (23), badminton (9), boccia (8), chess (22), cerebral palsy football (10), goalball (12), judo (4), powerlifting (11), sitting volleyball (14), swimming (12), table tennis (21), wheelchair basketball (23), and demonstration sport esports (5).
Source: Philippines News Agency