PSC on Pinoy paralympians: ‘Exceptional and dedicated’
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) described the Filipino Paralympians “exceptional and dedicated” despite the setbacks they went through in their World Paralympic Games campaign in Tokyo, Japan that wrapped up last week.
PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez and the PSC Commissioners thanked all of the six Filipino Paralympians, their coaches, the officials, and support staff who were plagued with the COVID-19, for their eddorts in the games.
Three para athletes in Achielle Guion, Jeanette Aceveda and Allain Ganapin tested positive of the virus along with their coaches.
It left three Filipino para athletes, Gary Bejino, Jerrold Mangliwan, and Ernie Gawilan, to compete in their respective events.
“They were exceptional and dedicated Paralympians caught in a pandemic. Despite this, they carried the flag with pride and honor,” said PSC Chairman Ramirez adding “they were playing against the best Paralympians in the world. To qualify and participate in the Paralympics is a great honor in itself.”
Days before the departure of the Philippine contingent, some officials and athletes tested positive to COVID-19, including Guion.
Aceveda and Ganapin tested positive a few days later, forcing all of them to pull out of their respective events.
Despite the unending challenges and obstacles faced by the contingent, the three remaining Paralympians in Mangliwan of para athletics, and para swimmers Gawilan and Bejino, still fought well against champions from their respective sports.
Mangliwan advanced to the finals of his three events. He placed fifth and logged a new personal best in the men’s 400m T52 race finals. He also broke his own best time in the men’s 1500m T52 competition.
Gawilan placed sixth in the men’s 400m freestyle S7 event and became the first Filipino para swimmer to advance to the Paralympics finals.
Bejino, on the other hand, also showed great potential for the 2024 Paris Games despite being a first-timer in the quadrennial meet.
“In spite of what happened, we take pride in these rare Filipino Paralympians. They inspire the country with their achievement. They are our new heroes today who in spite of their conditions fought well,” added Ramirez.
With the advancement of para sports, Ramirez is calling for transformation and further development of talent identification for para athletes.
“Together with the Philippine Paralympic Committee, we hope to find training venues for our para-athletes in the national pool,” he said. “The sacrifices and resiliency of these para-athletes are beyond compare. We will support them in any way we can.”
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