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  • Pinoy World Chess Champion Didn't Let His Disability Get In The Way Of His Dream

    His motto: Embrace your struggles and rise above them.
    by Rachel Perez .
Pinoy World Chess Champion Didn't Let His Disability Get In The Way Of His Dream
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Sander Severino
  • Last June, Sander Severino of Silay City, Negros Occidental became the first Filipino to be the world champion in online chess. He bested 124 players to win the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA) Online Championship. It was a dream come true for him. 

    When he was in grade one, Sander got into a bicycle accident that required hospital treatment. The doctor noticed that he was getting out balanced and suggested to his parents that they get his legs checked. 

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    Sander and his dad Saul traveled to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to have his legs checked. At age 8, he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Due to the disease, they predicted that he would not be around to celebrate his 21st birthday. 

    Muscular dystrophy is a disease that causes progressive loss of muscle mass. It causes muscles to weaken and shrink due to the lack of a protein called dystrophin, necessary for healthy muscle function. Depending on the disease's progression, it can affect a persons' muscle coordination, ability to walk, swallow, and more.  

    Because of his condition, he eventually had a hard time walking. Sander couldn't play sports, but it didn't stop him from having a new dream and reaching for it. He got into chess, where he could equally compete with able-bodied individuals.

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    "Lahat naman po tayo may mga kanya-kanyang struggles, embrace lang po natin," Sander shares about how he coped with his disabilty. "Ang mga problema nandiyan lang para i-solve natin, katulad ng sa chess," he added. 

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    After winning the IPCA Online Championship on June 17, Sander believes that differently-abled persons can still bring honor to our country. Know more about his story below:

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