HANGZHOU, China — Bannered by the solid play of Menandro Redor, the national para chessers finished with a flourish with three gold, two silver and two bronze medals in the standard event to boost the Philippines to 12th overall in the standings midway through the 4th Asian Para Games here Thursday.
In his second Asian Para Games, Redor held Turkmen top seed Atabayev Aygdogdy to a draw in the seventh and final round, anchoring the men’s squad to a sweep of the B2-B3 standard event to emerge as the country’s first double gold medalist in the continental sportsfest.
The chesser, who has less than 10 percent vision in both eyes, actually wound up tied for first with identical 5.5 points with Iranian Amir Rabbi Khorasgani but took the gold through the tiebreak for having played stronger players through the seven-round series.
Armand Subaste was the next best local chesser with four points after drawing Tajikistan’s Suhrob Hamdamov as the national squad, which includes Darry Bernardo, finished with 9.5 points in clinching the team gold in the stint supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Atty. Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza added the third gold in chess despite losing to Mongolia’s Khisigbayar Migjee in the last round of the women’s individual standard PI event with a final 5.5 points, the same output as Indonesia’s Yuni, who beat compatriot Lilis Herna Yulia in the other match.
Mendoza, however, took the mint with the winner-over-the-other rule after beating the top Indonesian in the previous rounds.
Their accomplishments softened somewhat the setback suffered by the Nationals in the men’s PI event where they were dethroned in both the team and individual events by Indonesia following the setback of FIDE Master Sander Severino to veteran No. 1 Tirto in the final round.
Severino, who led the squad in sweeping both events in the 2018 Jakarta edition, was relegated to the individual bronze medal while Henry Roger Lopez copped the silver behind Tirto following his final-round win over Mongolian Sundui Sonom.
A fourth gold was in the offing later in the day with Ernie Gawilan aiming to retain the men’s 100-meter backstroke S7 title at the HOC Aquatic Arena.
“We were actually eyeing six golds entering today’s round but the strategy and the breaks didn’t go our way yesterday,” said national para chess coach James Infiesto.
“Luckily, we won half our goals today.”
“Actually, we are still on target. It can still increase,” stressed Infiesto with the first two rounds of the rapid event set to start Thursday afternoon, adding “the rapid game is one of our forte since we play it often back in our country.”
Meanwhile, the Pilipinas Warriors finally scored their first win with a 54-51 decision over Kuwait to wind up in ninth place out of 10 countries at the Hangzhou Olympic Center Gymnasium.