By: Dorothy Joy O. Jimenez
“The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race, but to test the limits of the heart.” -Bill Bowerman. This quote is the epitome of the three day bi-annual Special Games in General Santos City.
Last October 26 the Delegation of Special Olympics CDO chapter headed by the chapter president Dr. Vic Cinco, SOP-CdO board members Romeo V. Balandra II, Leandro I. Neri, Metzie P. Balandra , Paz Abarca, Joel Pabia and Dr. Rose Mary D. Sudaria, CDO Division Special Education Coordinator went to General Santos City to compete in the 3rd Special Olympics Mindanao Regional Games 2017. The delegation composed of 39 special athletes along with their coaches and SOP-CDO volunteers.
Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sport, everyday, everywhere. It is the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities: with more than 4.9 million athletes in 172 countries – and over a million volunteers.
3rd Special Olympics Mindanao Regional games happen every two years, where it is participated by three Chapters of Mindanao Region namely SOP Davao Chapter, SOP Cagayan de Oro Chapter and the host chapter this year General Santos City.
The delegates from the Cagayan de Oro and Davao were warmly welcomed by the hospitable people of the Tuna Capital of the Philippines and all were billeted at Romana C. Acheron Central School. A welcome dinner was prepared for the delegates at Family Country Hotel and Convention Center where each chapter were grooving as they presented a surprise dance number. The whole night was filled with fantastic talents, good food and solidarity. Officials from the DepEd Gen San, the Local Government Unit, SOP Chapter Presidents and the Special Olympics Philippines National Director were also present in the celebration.
Over 150 athletes from Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos met in General Santos for two days of sports, joy and inclusion. The bi-annual games is compose of the following sport events athletics, aquatics, bocce, badminton and unified basketball.
The games officially opened on October 27 at General Santos Sports Complex. All events were excitedly witnessed by the crowd as the Special athletes were showing and giving the best of what they have.
The excitement was on the top when the athletics event hits on the track and field, each chapter was on hype as they shout for joy for their athletes. Kim Larry Lago, Christian Palamine, Vincent Allan, Jim Daguplo, Clint James Cellacay, Dan Arnee Salise,Joshua Laspoñas, Ramsy O. Abarca, Pamela Petalver, Hannah Marie Ligtas, Queen Lovely Bangot, Leofe Ceneza and Jannie Tabligan of team CDO excellently performed in the track and field and bagged home medals. Behind the athletics team were great and talented coaches of CDO namely Sandra D. Cabugwas, Jonahville R. Quiza, Peejay Cagara, Katrina Jessica Tahud, Jean Sabella, Joan Kee and Dorothy Joy Jimenez.
Joy Reas, Carmela Laya and Leonardo Campilan, Jr. led Kent Harvey G. Sabanal, Novelie P. Ibañez, Win March Galelia and Johndulf Yare to victory and finished the Bocce event with flying colors.
“It was very challenging and exciting basketball game” Chelly De Guia Arancon coach of team CdO stated. Team CDO finished first runner up with a final score 49-50 in favor of Team Davao. Nevertheless, Kenneth Labitad,Nesvier Levin D. Go, Guerson O. Tayong, Edgar Timothy Dela Cerna, Jerome Sabuga-a and Joshua Dave Baricuatro gave their best and played with all their hearts with the support of their coaches Rhanim Jailani R. Jarabe, Fely J. Mustard, Teresa J. Salvaña and Chelly D. Arancon.
Team CdO swimmers gracefully finished the aquatics event and brought home medals. Christine Recca S. Pabia, Mariel Olvina, Edgar Robern Jay Bernales were superb as they showcase their skills in the different swimming strokes. Elvira Rebecca S. Pabia, Virgilliane M. Gomez and Ryan Miel E. Maallo were behind the success of team CdO aquatics.
Ian Kenneth G. Balaod, Ester Morgadez, Princess Gonzales and Mycha-Baby Bzar smashed the badminton event with a swag and brought home gold and silver medals. Energetic coaches were there to give support to the smashers of team CDO.
Every event has its highlights and the cheer from the crowd was very overwhelming which helped the athletes to perform at their highest level.
After all the hard work and perseverance all athletes were given the award they all deserved. Team CdO bagged 16 gold medals 20 silver medals and 17 bronze medals with the total medal count of 53.
“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” These words embodied the spirit of an athlete with Special Needs. The Special Games is really the avenue for children to showcase how unique each individual with or without disability.
With the help of our SOP Cagayan de Oro Chapter volunteers the recently concluded Mindanao Regional Games 2017 experience was truly amazing and memorable. Kudos Team CDO until the 4th Mindanao Regional Games 2019 to be held in the City of Golden Friendship.
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