Two promising young student-athletes took home the first two gold medals at stake on Table Tennis Friday kicking off the action in the third and final leg of the 2018 “Differently-Abled Sports 4 LIFE” Paragames held at the post Xavier University–Ateneo de Cagayan Sports Centre in Cagayan de Oro City
Princess Lara Sofia Pido, a 14-year-old Special Class student at West City Central School, took the gold medal in the Children with Intellectual Disability category with her three straight sets victory, 11-8, 11-5 and 11-7, over Leofe Marie Ceneza of Puerto National High School.
“Actually, she is into athletics, she likes running but she joined table tennis that is her other loved sports,” said SPED teacher and coach Benylyn Yana of her ward. “She said she was very happy she won and is thanking the organizers for the tournament.”
Organizers observed a possible national talent in 19-year-old Michael Tagapolot, a Grade 9 student at CDO National High School, who showed exceptional skills despite having Deaf and Hearing Impairment Disability as he took the gold in the High School category.
“Like other kids po with disabilities, takot po siya sumali noon. First time niya sumali at nag-volunteer lang po siya na makasama sa team namin. Enrolled naman po siya at nagkalakas loob siya noong makita at mapanood niya sa TV na nananalo ang mga atleta natin,” said Tagapolot’s coach Amor Fajardo, also a SPED Teacher.
Tagapolot showed his skills as he won in the eliminations against Wilson Garcia of West City Central School before taking the gold medal in straights set over Janico Saburao of Caman-an NHS, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 in the grassroots sports development program of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Earlier, PSC Commissioner and PSC DAS 4 Life in-charge Arnold Agustin and Cagayan De Oro City (CDO) Mayor Oscar Moreno inspired the 250 athletes from 26 participating schools in the simple opening ceremony.
DAS4LIFE Assistant Project Director Jan Facundo said the two-day tournament that had a total of six different sports with athletics, swimming, badminton, table tennis, bocce and goalball for the para-athletes had medals for individual athletes and will also have overall rankings.
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