THE adapted sports program of Philippine Acceptable Disability Services Inc. (Pads) was officially launched with the debut of the All-PWD Dragon Boat Team in the 2nd Dragons sa Argao Dragon Boat Competition at the Argao Royal Palms last Sunday.
Pads had 25 paddlers who joined as guest participants in the event. The team—a mix of deaf, blind, wheel chair users and amputees—was formed five weeks ago.
Pads chief executive officer John Paul “JP” Ecarma Maunes said that since they started the program, it has earned positive feedback from the PWDs.
One of the paddlers is 47-year-old Joy Matahom of Inayawan who had a spinal injury due to a vehicular accident.
“I had a spinal cord injury for 20 years. I have bowel incontinence since the accident but when I started to paddle weeks ago, the incontinence lessened,” she said. “I really enjoy the sport and the more we practice, the more we feel like ma uli-an amo disability.”
Aside from the dragon boat, Matahom of Inayawn also wants to join the other adapted sports program of Pads.
“Sport is basic human rights and that is why we encourage PWDs to go out and engage into sport. We want to emphasize that we are also developing them to the competitive atmosphere of sports. It’s also an identification of grassroots talent” said Ecarma.
Ecarma said that the All-PWD Team in dragon boat is the first in the country, and the goal now is to continue practicing. He said that an Olympic coach from US will come Cebu Yacht Club this Saturday to train the team.
“The sport is really a power tool and the adapted sport is a form of recreational rehabilitation for PWDs,” said Ecarma, who encourages the PWD’s to feel free to join them.
Aside from dragon boat, Pads will be promoting Boccia, goalball, seated volleyball and wheel chair basketball.
A seated volleyball clinic will be held on Oct. 6 to 7 which will be spearheaded by US sports envoy coach Eric Hodgson. The clinic will be at the Mandaue Sports Complex in Oct. 6 and at the Pajo covered court in Oct. 7.