TANKER Ernie Gawilan with three-gold medal haul in Jakarta.

THE Philippines will have a chance to replicate, if not surpass, its strong effort in the 3rd Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia four years ago after the 4th edition to be hosted by Hangzhou, China will be staged from Oct. 22 to 28 next year.

“It’s an answered prayer,” said national para chess team coach James Infiesto after the new dates of the quadrennial event, which was postponed in May this year due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, was recently announced.

The Filipino chessers raked in five gold medals including four by FIDE Master Sander Severino in Jakarta where the country finished strongly at 10th place with a historic 10-gold, eight-silver and 11-bronze medal harvest.

The team’s other mints came from tanker Ernie Gawilan with three and bowler Kim Ian Chi, cyclist Arthus Bucay with one each.

While there will be no bowling in Hangzhou, the Philippines remains in a position to duplicate, if not eclipse, that incredible feat the last time out.

The development came after the Olympic Council of Asia last month announced the new dates for the Asian Games, which will be now held from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, 2023.

“We are happy to announce the new dates for the Asian Para Games, which were approved by the APC (Asian Paralympic Committee) Executive Board. We would also like to thank HAPGOC (organizers), the Chinese Paralympic Committee and Hangzhou and Zhejiang provincial governments for their continuous support and efforts to ensure that the Games take place on the new dates,” said APC President Majid Rashed.

This is the second time China will host the Asian Para Games after the successful staging of the first edition of the Games in Guangzhou 12 years ago. — Joey Villar