Completely blind Gamaoto make international chess debut

DAVAO. Philippine Sports Association for Differently-Abled (Philspada) Davao president James Infiesto discusses the participation of some Davao City para athletes in the upcoming 10th Asean Para Games 2020 in the Philippines during Thursday's Davao Sportswriters Association Forum at The Annex of SM City Davao. (Marianne L. Saberon-Abalayan)

DAVAO City's Philspada National Para Games 2019 women's chess double gold medalist Evangeline Gamao will make her debut in the 10th Asean Paragames 2020 in the country that was rescheduled from January 18 to 25 to March 20-28.

Philippine Sports Association for the Differently-Abled (Philspada) Davao president James Infiesto, during Thursday's Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum at The Annex of SM City Davao, said the completely blind chesser, who brought home two golds and one bronze from the PSC-Philspada National Games 2019 held in Bulacan, has adjusted herself in the national para chess team.

"We are happy for her finally making it to the national team and being able to compete in the Asean Para Games," Infiesto said, recalling that it was Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who insisted to add more female athletes in the PSC-Philspada National Games 2019 where Davao City finished third in the overall medal tally. Gamao was then among the decorated Dabawenyas who put up a very impressive performance in the Games.

Gamao became blind when she was two years old due to measles.

Infiesto, who will coach the national para chess team and is also a regional director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), said a total of 36 golds are at stake.

In the Asian Para Games in Indonesia last 2018, the Philippine chess team delivered five golds, while three golds came from Dabawenyo swimmer Ernie Gawilan.

"We are hoping for a better finish in the 2020 Asean Para Games although we have monitored that Vietnam chess team trained in Turkey while Indonesia trained in India. Dako ang pressure kay kita ang host (There is pressure for us since we are the host). This is a big challenge for us," he said, adding that the Filipino para chessers had a short training stint in Thailand.

Aside from Gamao and Gawilan, other Davao City para athletes in table tennis and athletics, among other sports.

National para athletes, according to him, started receiving their provisions from the Philippine Sports Commission while their parade uniform measurements were already taken.


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