TOKYO – The Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Jose Laurel V, on Wednesday encouraged the country’s Paralympians “to continue our country’s winning streak in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.”
Laurel was referring to the country’s most successful Olympic stint in the Japanese capital nearly a month ago, highlighted by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s historic first gold medal in the XXXII Summer Games in ruling the women’s 55-kilogram division at the Tokyo International Forum last July 26.
The PH Olympic squad also went home with a silver medal each from boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and a bronze courtesy of Eumir Felix Marcial in a glorious performance that lifted the country proudly to 50th place of the overall medal standings in the quadrennial sports festival.
Wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan, discus thrower Jeannette Aceveda, swimmers Ernie Gawilan and Gary Bejino, who are all now here, and taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin, who is scheduled to leave for the Japanese capital on Sunday, are the country’s standard-bearers at the Games.
The national Paralympic contingent is fully supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Philippine Embassy and the consulates general in Nagoya and Osaka, I wish our Philippine Paralympic athletes’ success,” Laurel said during his visit at the Tokyo Prince Hotel to the PH delegation led by Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo and Commissioner Arnold Agustin of the PSC.
Joining Barredo, Agustin and Laurel was Robespierre Bolivar, the deputy chief of mission of the Philippine embassy.
“You (the Paralympians) are an inspiration to all of us. Your amazing triumphs in sports highlight the immense contribution that our kababayans with disabilities have made in lifting the pride of the Philippines on the world stage,” Laurel noted.
“I am sure the entire Filipino community in Japan will join us in cheering our athletes to victory! Mabuhay kayong lahat!” the ambassador added.
“We are grateful and encouraged by your enthusiastic support of our para-athletes and pray that this will motivate them, even more, to excel in their respective events,” Barredo replied.
“This great show of support for our ‘lean and mean’ national Paralympic means much to us and will surely motivate our athletes to give their all during the World Para Games,” Agustin echoed.
Barredo and Agustin presented Laurel with the official tracksuits of the PH contingent and other mementos as tokens of appreciation during the ambassador’s visit.