VICTORIAS City’s pride Ariel Joseph Alegarbes once again brought honor to the Philippines after bagging two gold medals for swimming at the ongoing 11th Asean Para Games at the Jatidiri Sports Complex pool in Semarang, Indonesia.

Alegarbes, 18, ruled the men’s 100-meter backstroke S14 event, surging in the last 10 meters to wining in the 01:03.01 lapse over Malaysia’s Muhammad Imaan Aiman, who had wrested the lead at the 75-meter mark but finished in 1:03.20.

Fresh from his win at the men’s 100-meter backstroke, the teenager also managed to clinch the championship at the men’s 50-meter butterfly S14 in 26.43 seconds, completing a golden double in his rookie stint in the biennial meet.

He made another history as the country’s first double gold medalist in the meet and also established new records in both events, first smashing the five-year-old mark of 1:03.60 in the 100-meter backstroke set by Indonesia’s Muhammad in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games.

On top of that, he also bested by nearly four seconds the joint record of 30.01 seconds held by Malaysia and Indonesia during the same competition.

Alegarbes’ father Abner told SunStar Bacolod that they were initially having doubts whether he would win or not considering that his competitors were also good.

The elder Alegarbes said that his son was the smallest among his competitors but still managed to pull-off a good performance, especially that he had been training before he went to the competition on July 12, 2022.

Delighted with his son’s Victory, he thanked all Negrenses, the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled (Philspada) for their support.

“I am happy with his victory and I am thankful for those who prayed for him,” he said.

This is not the first time that Alegarbes made history as he was also the first Filipino to clinch a gold medal at the the Asian Youth Para Games held in Manama, Bahrain in December 2021 in the 100-meter butterfly S14 event.

He also won a silver medal in that event for the 100-meter backstroke S14.

For his part, Victorias Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez urged Victorias City residents and the rest of the Filipinos to pray for Alegarbes as he competes for the 100-meter butterfly on August 5.*