Sports. Education. Opportunities. These are some of the best words that describe Palarong Pambansa. One of Palaro’s highlights over the past years is the Special Games category where children with special needs (CSNs) are able to showcase their sporting talents to the community.
The Special Games are composed of Athletics (100M, 200M, 400M, 4X100M, Shot put, Running & Standing long jump), Swimming (50M Backstroke, Breastroke, Freestyle), Goal ball and Bocce – a ball sport closely related to bowling. Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC presents Palaro as a means to support the Department’s commitment to provide equal educational opportunities for all learners. “Ang Palarong Pambansa, kagaya ng edukasyon, ay inclusive o bukas sa lahat. Wala itong pinipili, wala itong itinatangi. Ito ay para sa lahat na may pusong handang magpunyagi upang sa dulo ay magwagi” he said.
Athletes with intellectual disability, visual impairment and those who are orthopedically handicapped will have a chance to be scouted to compete in international events. Among the notable Palaro Special Games athletes are Merill Jean Derama, John Brian Menosa and Lizamel Dayon - all of whom competed in the 2011 Special Olympics held in Athens, and swimmers Jonalyn Hernando and Marco Tinamisan – both with no limbs.
Amidst the sea of 10,000 Palaro participants are the 850 Special Games athletes, set to be welcomed by the province of Davao del Norte. Palarong Pambansa has also been a gateway for CSN’s to prove that they can exceed expectations with their athletic capabilities. Their perseverance and dedication to their trainings serve as an eye-opener that breaks down barriers of marginalization