June 25, 2024

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3 para chess golds propel Philippines to 12th place at Asian Para Games

4 min read

The national para chess team, led by the stellar performance of Menandro Redor, closed the standard event with an impressive haul of three gold, two silver, and two bronze medals. This outstanding feat catapulted the Philippines to the 12th spot in the overall standings, marking a significant midpoint achievement in the 4th Hangzhou Asian Para Games on Thursday, October 26.

In his second appearance at the Asian Para Games, Redor forced a standoff with top-seeded Turkmen player, Atabayev Aygdogdy, in the seventh and final round. This secured a sweep for the men’s squad in the B2-B3 standard event, making Redor the Philippines’ first double gold medalist in the continental sportsfest.

Despite his vision impairment of less than 10 percent in both eyes, Redor tied for first place with Iranian Amir Rabbi Khorasgani, both amassing 5.5 points. Redor secured the gold through a tiebreaker, having faced stronger opponents throughout the seven-round Swiss System format competition.

Armand Subaste also demonstrated outstanding play, earning four points after a draw against Tajikistan’s Suhrob Hamdamov. Together with teammates Darry Bernardo and others, the Philippines clinched the team gold, finishing with a collective 9.5 points – a commendable achievement supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Atty. Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza contributed the team’s third gold, even though she faced defeat against Mongolia’s Khisigbayar Migjee in the final round of the women’s individual standard PI event. 

With a final tally of 5.5 points, Mendoza shared the same score as Indonesia’s Yuni, who emerged victorious against compatriot Lilis Herna Yulia. Mendoza secured the gold through the winner-over-the-other rule, having defeated the top Indonesian player in previous rounds.

While the Nationals faced setbacks in the men’s PI event, ultimately losing both the team and individual events to Indonesia, the competition demonstrated the team’s resilience and determination. FIDE Master Sander Severino secured an individual bronze medal, while Henry Roger Lopez earned silver after a final-round victory against Mongolian Sundui Sonom.

A fourth gold was within reach as Ernie Gawilan aimed to defend his men’s 100-meter backstroke S7 title at the HOC Aquatic Arena.

National para chess coach James Infiesto expressed contentment over the team’s achievements, emphasizing that they were still on target despite some strategic challenges. Infiesto highlighted their proficiency in rapid games, a forte honed through frequent play in their home country.

Reflecting on his achievement, Medor, 38, shared that the final round was a 50-50 proposition. He acknowledged the challenges he faced, as all his opponents were formidable. Medor, who previously won one gold, two silvers, and one bronze in Jakarta, expressed optimism about the upcoming rapid event.

eanwhile, Mendoza described her gold in her Asian Para Games debut as “bittersweet,” regretting a pivotal mistake in the 28th move that led to her loss. She expressed a sense of letting her team down but remained focused on the upcoming rapid event.

With four gold, three silver, and four bronze medals, the Philippines surged from 20th to 12th place overall, standing tall among 25 countries that have achieved medal success thus far.

In other sports, the Pilipinas Warriors secured their first victory with a 54-51 win against Kuwait, concluding in ninth place out of 10 countries at the Hangzhou Olympic Center Gymnasium.

National para cyclists Nikko Peralta and Arthus Bucay gave their all in the C4-C5 time trial, finishing fifth (26:25.31) and tenth (28:24.04), respectively, despite not making it to the podium this time around.

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