Mars G. Allison
Cebu Daily News, 25 August 2019
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu’s Philippine Accessible Disability Services, Inc. (PADS) Dragonboat Racing Team sealed its historic campaign in the 14th International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Nations Championships in Pattaya, Thailand with two more gold medals for a total of four.
The Philippine delegation ended its campaign in the world championships with four gold medals, two silvers and four bronze medals.
The four gold medals were contributed by the PADS who manned the Philippine Paradragon Elite Team via the first-ever paradragon category of the IDBF World Nations Championships that began on August 20 and ended Sunday, August 25, 2019.
The team’s golds came from the PD 1 and PD 2 divisions of the 200-meter and 500-meter small boat categories.
“We are totally overwhelmed right now to be part of history here at the IDBF world championships. It’s a ‘mission accomplished’ for the team. It is truly an honor for us to serve our country and bring pride and honor to the Filipino people. May our victory give hope and inspiration to every Filipino despite the adversaries they are facing right now,” said JP Maunes, PADS team manager.
Team captain Arnold Balais said he was so overwhelmed with the team’s achievement and he expressed his gratefulness to IDBF president Mike Thomas for the opportunity.
“Happy kaayo ko kay sulit amo sacrifices as a team. World champion na gyud ang PADS,” said Balais. (I am so happy because all of the team’s sacrifices paid off. The PADS are now world champions.)
Balais impressed the Chinese paddlers so much that one gave him his jersey, something that they don’t usually do, he said.
The team was also featured on Chinese and Thai televisions, said Balais.
“It means the world to us. It is an honor and privilege to hold the first-ever world record in the paradragon division. No one can take that away from us. The paddlers worked hard for it. Blood, sweat and tears were our only investment,” added Maunes. “Our spot here was earned thru the hardwork that we have labored over the years.”
According to Maunes, their victory was for all Filipinos, especially the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
“We offer this to every Filipino especially those with disabilities. May our victory bring a resonating sound of hope that anything is possible in sports,” said Maunes.
Balais said that their achievement in Pattaya, Thailand means so much for the team.
“It means a lot for us. Three years ago we were just ordinary paddlers, to reach this stage of competition is the ultimate dream of every paddler,” said Balais.
Read more on the PADS’ Dragon Boat Program: The Dragons Bring Dignity and Hope for Our PWDs