Champion obstacle course para athletes on what made them #BetterToday


Kent Tumangan

For Adaptive National Athlete of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) Kent Tumangan, representing the country in this sport brought back his self-confidence and discipline. The 27-year-old obstacle course racer and dragon boat paddler found his passion in sports after losing a leg to cancer.

“After my amputation, I went through depression because I was just a teenager when I lost my leg to bone cancer. I kept praying for the Lord to give me a sign so that I could continue my life with one leg. I joined sports for people with disabilities like Wheelchair Basketball, Sitting Volleyball, so that I could divert my thoughts and not feel hopeless,” the para athlete from Mandaue City, Cebu said.

Soon after, he joined the PADS Adaptive Dragonboat Racing team when he saw their post on social media. “That’s what I like about [dragon boat] because our opponents are people without disabilities. Our team is composed of people with disabilities, and our team is competitive. We compete and win overseas,” he shared.

Aside from dragon boat racing, Kent also found a new passion in obstacle course racing. In fact, he, and another teammate, Renson Embradura took home the silver and gold medals, respectively, in the recent OCR World Championships held in Belgium in September 2023.

Famous as a one-legged runner in his community, 32-year-old Renson joined the OCR team upon the invitation of his friend. The para athlete from Sariaya, Quezon was apprehensive at first, but he soon learned to appreciate OCR. He went against the warning of his family, who feared for him when he first joined the team. “They were afraid that I might run into an accident, but I wanted to prove something. I wanted to show my peers that disabilities do not hinder a person, as long as they have the determination to pursue their goals and reach the finish line,” he said.

“Sports does not discriminate, whether you are a person with or without disabilities. This is an opportunity for us to play this sport and represent our country. For those who want to become professional athletes, they should simply do their best and stay consistent,” Kent advised.

Kent and Renson are part of this year’s Better Today: Power Move Project to celebrate World Mental Health month. An advocacy supported by PLDT Inc. (PLDT) and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), together with partners MVP Sports Foundation and Football for Humanity, this video series aims to champion mental health and wellness through sports and inspiring stories of Filipino para-athletes and coaches who embody the true meaning of persistence, bravery, and mental resilience.

This initiative is also aligned with the Group’s commitment to help the country achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals #10 on reducing inequality by empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including persons with disabilities, and uplift and improve the overall digital wellness of Filipinos, underscoring the commitment of PLDT and Smart to the UN SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being. The promotion of diversity and equality also highlights Concern, one of the four pillars that make up the PLDT Group’s sustainability framework.

Watch Kent’s and Renson’s full interviews on the Better Today Facebook Page and YouTube channel.