110 SPED athletes to compete in Olympics for Special Children
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Some 110 Special Education (SPED) athletes will be competing in the Olympics for Special Children, Saturday, August 17, 6 a.m. at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).
The event will serve as a culmination and assessment of the special training program initiated by the Quota International of Metro Cebu (QIMC) in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).
The special training program is spearheaded by John Philip Dueñas, a level 2 International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) coach, and Cebu Olympian Mary Joy Tabal.
Tabal, who is very appreciative of the efforts of the athletes despite their disabilities, will be the torch bearer and will also lead the athletes in their oathtaking.
“Day to day, I hear people or athletes who complain — too early trainings, too much heat and humidity, bad weather conditions, slow finish times and performances, but some of them forgot that being into sports is a privilege, being able to run is a privilege and that has been denied to many,” Tabal said.
“I am here to be an inspiration to these wonderful children who love sports as much as I do. We all know that sports is for everyone and we are different in some aspects in life and seeing these children do the same thing as we are, is so inspiring,” she said.
The 110 SPED athletes will be coming from 12 DepEd SPED Centers—Banawa Elementary School, Bulacao Community School, Cebu City Central School, Don Vicente Rama Memorial Elementary School, Guadalupe Elementary School, Guba Elementary School, Labangon Elementary School, Lahug Elementary School, Pardo Elementary School, San Nicolas Elementary School, Talamban Elementary School and Zapatera National High School.
This one day sporting event will be themed “Empowering Special Children through Sports.” It will have nine running events—100 meter run, 200 meter run, 400 meter run, 800 meter run, 4×100 meter run, 4×400 meter run, shotput, running long jump, standing long jump, and bocce.
There would have been a goal ball event except that organizers had to scrap it for lack of suitable venue.
In the games, the SPED athletes will be classified under those with Intellectual Disability (ID), Visually Impaired (VI) and Low Vision (LV).
There will be two age brackets — 15 years old and below and 16 to 25 years old. Both age brackets will have a boys and girls division.
University of Cebu (UC) coach Elde Banzon will head the technical officials, who are Arvin Loberanis, Ernesto Ybañez Jr. and James Ludweg Geconcillo.
Aside from serving as an assessment, the Olympics for Special Children will also serve as a preparation for the SPED athletes who will be competing in the Central Visayas Regional Athletics Association (CVIRAA) Meet and the Palarong Pambansa./dbs
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