TWO more Filipino Paralympians get their respective campaigns going at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo on Friday.
Wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan and para-swimmer Ernie Gawilan will be on tap in scheduled events of the sporting meet for the differently-abled.
Mr. Mangliwan will see action in the men’s 400m T52 event while Mr. Gawilan competes in the men’s 200m individual medley SM6.
The Tokyo Games will be the second Paralympics for Mr. Mangliwan, 41, who has paraplegia which he acquired from polio, and knows how tough the competition is.
But he remains undeterred, believing that they have trained well enough, and confident of his chances.
“Quitters don’t win. So we will not quit,” said Mr. Mangliwan in Filipino. “We have seen the records of my opponents and me and my coach feel I have a chance against them.”
He went on to say that the strategy for them is to take it a round at a time and do their best.
“My goal is to make it to the finals and take it from there.”
Mr. Gawilan, 30, also a veteran Paralympian, meanwhile, is sure of what he wants to achieve in Tokyo.
“We’re going there not just to play around, but to compete and do well,” said Mr. Gawilan, who is lacking both legs and has an underdeveloped left limb.
The Davao native is a decorated para-swimmer, having won medals, including gold, in the Asian Para Games and ASEAN Para Games.
He takes pride in being an inspiration to many differently abled individuals, and something he looks to continue doing at the Tokyo Games.
“Sports has helped me become the person that I am now. It was not easy, but if you have determination and you work hard you can achieve whatever you want in life,” he said in a recent media forum.
Meanwhile, para-swimmer Gary Bejino failed to advance to the finals of the men’s 200m IM SM6 event on Thursday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre after finishing last in a field of 17, which was divided in three heats. He clocked in at 3:17.19.
He gets backs into action in the men’s 50m butterfly S6 and 400m freestyle S6 on Sept. 2 and men’s 100m backstroke S6 on Sept. 3. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo