Disability Not A Deterrent To This 4th Asean ParaGames Winner
Physical disability may hinder one's moves but definitely not one's spirit.
This was proven by Smith Billy Cartera, a 29-year old table tennis player from Davao City who won three bronze medals (doubles -Table Tennis) during the 4th ASEAN PARA Games held in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand from January 20 to 26 this year.
The Asean ParaGames, which was patterned after the Paralympics, is a a biannual event which is held after the Southeast Asian Games. What makes it unique, aside from the fact that all players come from Southeast Asia, is that all the athletes have physical disabilities.
Cartera, who is a first year computer engineering student at the Holy Cross of Davao College, started as a "Basketball on Wheels" player. However, he started practising for the Para Games two years ago under the supervision and support of the Association of Differently Abled Persons (ADAP) Davao Chapter.
Cartera manipulated his wheelchair proudly as he went inside the SP Session Hall last Tuesday to present his medals to the councilors who were so proud of him they pooled P18,000 and gave it to Cartera there and then. Barangay Captain Paolo Duterte also gave P30,000 to Cartera .
He was not always on a wheelchair though. Cartera, who has a one-year old daughter, said he got operated for spinal tumor when he was just 18 years old. It resulted to the weakening of his knees until he could no longer walk and needed a wheelchair in his daily activites.
A lesser man would have given up hope. Not Smith Billy Cartera who has won and who continues to dream on...