The Philippine Accessible Disability Services, Inc. (PADS) Dragon Boat Team clinched four gold medals during the recently concluded International Dragon Boat Federation’s 13th Club Crew World Championships para dragon boat category held in Florida, United States.
The Cebu-based team is also the first Filipino para dragon boat group to win that international competition.
“To all Filipinos with disabilities, nothing is impossible as long as we try, if we did it, you could also do it. Nothing is impossible in sports!” PAD’s Dragon Boat Team’s leader and founder, JP Maunes said in a Facebook post.
The team wants to serve as an inspiration to Filipinos with disabilities, according to the team captain Arnold Balais.
Balais said they want to change the view that PWDs are incapable of achieving anything.
“Hindi porket may kapansanan ka wala ka nang magagawa, madami ka pang magagawa,” he added in an interview with PTV.
The team started in 2016 as a recreation and rehabilitation program.
The Department of Tourism celebrated the team’s victory and lauded the athletes for bringing pride to the Philippines.
“The DOT believes in the strength of sports tourism as a viable tourism product parallel to the Department’s support to Filipino athletes who are some of the best tourism ambassadors for our country,” Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said.
The tourism agency said that it supports hosting international and local dragon boat competitions.
According to Frasco, this would give a competitive edge to Filipino athletes, given that the country is surrounded by bodies of water.
Meanwhile, the Philippine team captain Balais said that they would be sailing to Japan for a world championship next year.