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From front line to finish line

by Regina Ramos Urbano

         Maria Caress Arnejo

Philippines’ First Gold! PSsg Maria Caress Arnejo wins Gold in the 21K half marathon event. July 30, 2023

More than 40 athletes from the Philippine National Police (PNP) are in Winnipeg to compete in the 2023 World Police and Fire Games from July 28 to August 6, 2023. The full Philippine delegation, including support staff and family members proudly paraded into the Canada Life Centre for the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, July 28th to cheers from the excited crowd.

Police Master Sergeant Jose Daryl P. Sobretodo, a member of the Police Security and Protection Group, was overwhelmed by the geniality he has experienced so far since landing in Winnipeg on Thursday. “The people here are so friendly! So many people have come up to say ‘Hi’ and to welcome us.” Jose, with his teammate Edgar Cabral, represented the Philippines in the boxing competition at the RBC Convention Centre – Jose in the 81kg and Edgar in the 75kg weight class on July 31.

While the athletes are here to do their best to make their country proud, they are also here to enjoy the camaraderie of colleagues and have new experiences. Police Staff Master Sergeant Adora Aquino is a veteran participant of the WPFG in the sport of karatedo. She is also a seasoned dragon boat paddler and joined the International Dragonflies, a composite team (made up of athletes from different countries) as the sole Filipina competitor in the Dragon Boat Event. Several paddlers on the boat are trying the sport for the first time at these games.

Jose and Adora are just two of the Filipino athletes at the WPFG. Meet and cheer on the other members of the Philippine delegation and support staff at the following sports: basketball, mountain bike, golf, shooting, badminton, track and field, judo, bowling, lawn tennis, cross fit, triathlon, karate, darts, table tennis, karatedo, police action pistol, volleyball, and the full and half marathon.

The full event schedule can be found online at

The Philippine delegation led by Police Lieutenant General Rhodel Sermonia attended a Testimonial Potluck Dinner organized by Kenneth Salazar, lead convenor/organizer of welcome meet and greet, Ray Argulla, President of Bulacan Association, and Leila Castro, founder of 204 Filipino Forum and Marketplace on July 31 at the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba.

The evening included a presentation on the government’s program for Filipinos living abroad, Zumba dancing, a performance by the Winnipeg Galaxy Girl Candidates, and an exhibition by the Winnipeg Sikaran Arnis Academy.

Follow the 204 Filipino Forum and Marketplace on Facebook for the latest information on kababayan athletes.

Photo credits: Regina Ramos-Urbano and Kenneth Salazar