DAVAO City's Philspada National Para Games 2019 gold medalists John Lo Respicio and Evangeline Gamao both qualified to the Asean Paragames 2020-bound national para chess team.
Philspada Davao president James Infiesto praised the two Dabawenyos on Thursday, July 11, for their achievements and for making the city proud during the Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum at The Annex of SM City Davao.
He cited 22-year-old Gamao, who became blind at age two years old due to measles, for not just winning two golds and one bronze but also beating a national para chess player during the tournament held in Bulacan.
The visually impaired champion, who will soon graduate from a vocational course, said she did not expect to make it to the national team.
"Wala ko mag-expect na makuha jud ko. Tong 2015 ra ko nagsugod dula og chess pero nag try ko sauna og athletics pero sa chess diri diay ko dunay opportunity nga makadula sa national og international para sa tibuok Pilipinas (I really didn't expect to make it to the national team since I only started playing chess in 2015. I tried athletics before but it's only in chess that I was given opportunity to compete national and soon internationally for the country)," the So Kim Cheng Sports Foundation Inc. Awards outstanding Philspada female athlete awardee said.
Meanwhile, Respicio, who won an SS6 badminton gold in the Philspada National Paragames 2019, thanked his coach Skye Bangoy Dionela who also discovered his potential.
Respicio, who stands at 4'5, said, "Lingaw-lingaw lang man sa sugod suddenly nadiscover ko na kabalo gamay mudula (I played for fun at first but I was discovered to have the potential of playing competitively)."
He works at Brokenshire Hospital Integrated Health Ministries Inc.