Honasan, Dumapong dominate as PHL rakes in 5 golds in Para Games

KUALA LUMPUR—The Philippines raked in five more gold medals on Thursday to add to its 8-mint haul the day before in the 9th ASEAN Para Games in this Malaysia capital.

Filipino teenage sprint phenom Cielo Honasan and seasoned powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta, delivered big for the Philippine team.

Honasan, 15, blitzed her way to the 400m gold for T44 and T45 combined in 63.35 seconds to add to her mints in the 100m and 200m the previous days, underscoring her status as the games’ queen of tracks.

She bested Thailand’s Gagun Pagjiraporn, who started out strong but fizzled in the end to settle for the silver in 66.41. Cambodian Vet Chanta settled for the bronze with her time of 76.43.

Interestingly, Honasan, classified as T44, beat a higher classified runner in Pagjiraporn, who is a T45.

It was a scintillating performance by Honasan, a polio victim who was discovered competing in the regular event of the Palarong Pambansa, as she will go home as the newest face of the Philippines’ Para Games campaign.

“I just couldn’t control my emotions, that’s why I cried,” said an emotional Honasan, who is set to receive a P150,000 for each gold she won as an incentive mandated by law.

Dumapong-Ancheta, one of the Filipino Para Games pioneers, for her part, continued to be a dominating figure in the powerlifting competition after capturing the over 86-kg gold with a lift of 116kg.

Indonesia’s Sriyanti and Malaysia’s Sharifah Raudzah Binti efforts weren’t enough after lifting just 105kg and 95kg, respectively.

Dumapong-Ancheta could have broken her record of 118kg, but she opted not to attempt anymore, knowing she had achieved what she hoped for.

“I just want the gold, nothing else,” said the 43-year-old Dumapong-Ancheta, the country’s first Paralympic medal winner after taking home a bronze in Sydney, Australia 17 years ago.

Honasan’s mint was the Philippines’ eighth in centerpiece athletics, three more than the five it won in the 2015 Singapore staging.

It was also the country’s 16th gold overall on top of 17 silvers and 18 bronzes to match its Singapore edition output.

Indonesia had virtually clinched the overall title with still two days to go after reaping 90 gold, 51 silver and 36 bronze medals, fending off Malaysia’s bid as the host country was stranded at no. 2 with a 68-63-51 (gold-silver-bronze) haul.