Santé Fitness Lab (SFL), a premier one-stop fitness center that offers holistic fitness and sports performance training programs, as well as innovative recovery and sports rehabilitation, recently held its “Langoy Pinoy 30-Minute Swim Challenge” at the Vermosa Sports Hub.

Santé Lacuna Swim School, a comprehensive swimming training program under SFL, organized the “Langoy Pinoy 30-Minute Swim Challenge” as a fundraising program to support the Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled – National Paralympic Committee of the Philippines (PHILSPADA.)

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Olympian swimmer Jessie Lacuna and professional athlete, Bea Grabador, both coaches of the Santé Lacuna Swim School, said that “Langoy Pinoy” aims to offer financial support for the PHILSPADA team, as well as to invite young swimmers to enjoy a day of fun-filled activities in the company of professional sports athletes.

“PHILSPADA is a great friend of ours and, this event is for them. We want everyone to witness the members in action so that they would feel inspired in pursuing their own goals,” said Gabrador.

The challenge was composed of several categories with varying difficulties, namely, “Swimmers,” “Triathletes,” and “Masters,” as well as people from different age groups ranging from 13 to 50 upwards. To win the competition, participants must swim the most laps in thirty minutes.

Arnel Aba a record-breaking national para-athlete, triathlete, swimming coach, and member of the PHILSPADA team led by national coaches Tony Ong and Ral Rosario, emerged as one of the winners for the “Masters” category. He said PHILSPADA joined this event to inspire people to push through life with discipline and perseverance.

“We are doing this because we want to encourage other people with disabilities to never give up and, show their talents to the world. Our handicaps do not define us. We can do so much more if we just try our best in whatever we do,” said Arnel.

Other national members of the swimming team include Ernie Gawilan and Remigio Lobos. According to them, the coaches train the team to become top athletes while providing equal treatment and the same training programs as those with regular athletes.

“We want to include everyone in our programs, whether they are able-bodied, or with physical and mental disabilities, especially the young generation,” said Ong. “We’ve even taught one special needs individual who won a silver medal at our PHILSPADA National Games last month under the mentorship of one of our members. So, it’s an awesome feeling, to form this community where we can share our skills and help people grow.”

Jessie Lacuna also supports the idea of molding the next generation of champions. He said “our vision at Santé Lacuna Swim School is to produce grassroots swimmers at our premier one-stop facility in Santé Fitness Lab. We are aiming to produce the future Olympians of our nation.”

According to “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018″ Report, PWDs in the Philippines continue to face discrimination in public places and workplaces. Due to weak implementation of policies that prevent bias against PWDs, they still experience difficulties in seeking jobs, with only 10% of employable PWDs able to find work.

PHILSPADA, the national sports association for physically-impaired athletes, aims to counter this discrimination by developing the physical well-being, self-respect, and confidence of PWDs through sports-related programs and, showcase their skills to the world.

The organization has been conducting its National Para Games sporting event to provide opportunities for PWDs to exhibit their sporting abilities. The sports event also allows the winners to be part of the national paralympic roster and, give them the chance to represent the country at the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Para Games.

Santé Fitness Lab provides holistic and innovative fitness programs from professional and everyday athletes, as well as sports rehabilitation programs for the achievement and maintenance of optimal human performance.