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Palarong Pambansa 2024

Coach on a wheelchair: Meet Emanuel Digamon of Zamboanga Sibugay

By: Josh F. Almonte - CDN Digital | July 10,2024 - 08:46 PM

Emanuel Digamon of Zamboanga Sibugay and his son, Ralph, a silver medalist of Palarong Pambansa 2023 in Marikina City.

Emanuel Digamon of Zamboanga Sibugay and his son, Ralph, a silver medalist of Palarong Pambansa 2023 in Marikina City. | CDN Digital photo / Josh Almonte

CEBU CITY, Philippines – For Emanuel Digamon, his disability will never be a hindrance to his desire to teach student-athletes how to play table tennis.

Digamon of Zamboanga Sibugay has been on a wheelchair for four years now.

He is no longer able to move both his arms and his lower extremities following an accident that happened on December 2019.

READ: Marcos commends Cebu City’s hosting of Palarong Pambansa 2024

But for as long as he is able to talk and give instructions to his trainees, Digamon said he will continue to teach table tennis.

“Through instructional, pinapalaro ko yung bata. Dun ko nalang binibigay lahat ng time ko para may libangan naman ko,” Digamo said.

READ: President Marcos attends Palaro opening but VP Sara a no show

Palarong Pambansa

Digamon is part of the delegation from Zamboang Sibugay in Palarong Pambasa 2024 that is currently held in Cebu City.

READ: Cebu City hosts spectacular Palarong Pambansa opening ceremony

Although he is no longer officially part of the region’s coaching team, he continues to provide expert advise to their student-athletes.  He is also helping his wife, Marjory, coach the women’s table tennis team of the Santa Clara Elementary School, representing Region 9 in the Palaro.

Marjory started coaching their school’s women’s table tennis team in Palarong Pambansa 2023.

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Unmindful of the inconvenience that he had to endure, Digamon travelled to Cebu to be with the student-athletes who will be competing in the Palaro’s table tennis games that will be held at the Cebu Technological University Main Campus starting on Thursday, July 11.

Love for table tennis

Digamon was a table tennis coach for Region 9 or the Zamboang Peninsula for at least 10 years, since 2009.  During said period, he was able to join five national meets.

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He was also instrumental in producing winners for the region.

Among the student-athletes that he placed under his care was his eldest daughter, Emery Faith,  who clinched a bronze in Palarong Pambansa 2013 that was held in Dumaguete City.

Emery is a 7-peat Palarong Pambansa contender and is currently a varsity player at the University of Santo Tomas.

Meanwhile, his second daughter, Novy Mae, also participated in the Palaro seven times and is now a table tennis varsity player at the San Beda University.

His son, Ralph, who has joined the Palaro five times, snatched the silver medal in Palarong Pambansa 2023 that was held in Marikina City.

Unfortunate incident

But despite all his achievements in coaching table tennis, Digamon realized that life is not just about reaping success.

On December 2019, he figured in an accident that changed his life forever.

Digamon recalled that he was on a field trip with some student-athletes to celebrate, after they dominated the Regional Athletic Meet, when the hanging bridge in Naga town in Zamboanga Sibugay collapsed.

“Nauna ang ulo ko, ang nilaglagan ko bato yun kaya nagkaroon ako ng cervical spinal injury,” he said.

Digamon said that he had been on a wheelchair since the time that he left the hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Still, he felt lucky that he was alive.  He was also relieved to learn that the student-athletes who were with him during the field trip were safe.

Verbal coaching

When he was fully recovered from the accident, Digamon returned to sharing his knowledge on table tennis.

And since he is no longer able to move around, he now uses ‘verbal coaching’ in his trainings.

“Di tayo mawalan ng pag asa kahit sa ano mang karamdaman, kalagayan. We always think positive to inspire other person, especially those who are able and [are] capable of training other athletes,” he added.

Surprisingly, his trainees grew in number.  Some of their neighbors even started to train with him.

For Digamon, God gave him a mission in exchange for his second life. And that is to continue to share his knowledge in table tennis to aspiring student-athletes.

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TAGS: coach, Palarong Pambansa 2024, Zamboanga Sibugay

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