Ilonggo Olympians ready for Special Olympics

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS

ILOILO CITY — Eight Ilonggo athletes chosen by the Special Olympics Philippines, Inc. as members of the 52-athlete RP delegation to the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China on September 28 to October 12, 2007 are on the final leg of their training and are in high spirits.

This was disclosed by Elizabeth L. Orquilo, SPED-Integrated School for Exceptional Children principal III who will accompany the “special” athletes.

Orquilo said the following athletes: Carmella Rose Villaruel, Nelson N. Magahum Tanya B. Denamarca and Julius Granada (aquatics); Nemia Yao and Joby John A. Pama (table tennis); Christine Joy R. Galura (rhythmic gymnastics); abd Louies John Decolongon (powerlifting) are all training in Iloilo City.

Denamarca, 23, silver medalist (50-meter butterfly) in the 1999 World Summer Games in North Carolina, will compete in the 4X50-m freestyle relay, 50-m butterfly and 50-m breaststroke in Shanghai.

Villaruel, 17, gold medalist (50-m freestyle and 50-m breaststroke) in the 2006 National Special Olympics, will participate in the 4×50-m frees style relay; 50-m butterfly; and 50-m breaststroke.

Magahum, gold medalist (50-m breaststroke and 50-freestlye) in the 4th Singapore National Special Olympics, will compete in the same events.

Granada, 20, gold medalist (50-m backstroke) and silver medalist (50-m relay) in the 2006 National Special Olympics, will try his luck in the same events.

Decolongon, 19, bowling silver medalist in the 2006 National Special Olympics, will take part in the combination all lifts; bench press; dead lift; and squat lift.

Galura, 15, also bowling gold medalist in the 2006 National Special Olympics, will be the country’s sole entry in the gymnastics.

Yao, 24, table tennis silver medalist in the 1997 4th Singapore National Special Olympics, will compete in the singles event and mixed doubles together with Pama, 32, who was gold medalist in Singapore and North Carolina Games.

Alexander P. Babst, national executive director of the Special Olympics Philippines, Inc., said the eight athletes and their coaches-Emelita T. Gepigon (gymnastics) , Edvin G. Cabrera (aquatics), Mary La Verne L. Iqui�a (aquatics), Mary Gen D.

Mahinay (table tennis), Gilbert D. Cang (table tennis)-will join the country’s largest ever delegation in the Games to be participated by 7,000 athletes from 165 countries with a theme: “Let me win but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Of the 52 athletes, nine will come from Cebu, eight for Iloilo and one from La Union, Babst said. They will compete in 10 of the 25 Olympic-type and demonstration sports.