Team Philippines at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
To read this article in Filipino, see Koponan ng Pilipinas sa Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Para swimmers Ernie Gawilan and Gary Bejino, trackster Jerold Mangliwan, discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda, and powerlifter Achelle Guion comprise the nation’s delegation to the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Guion, Aceveda, and Ganapin however, were tested positive for Covid-19 and were forced to withdraw.
The Philippines first sent athletes to compete at the Paralympic Games in 1988. It has been represented at every Games since with the exception of Atlanta 1996.
Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong won the Philippines’ first Paralympic medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney. She won bronze in the women’s 82.5kg category.
Table tennis player Josephine Medina added the NPC’s second medal, also in bronze, in the women’s class 8 singles event at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. She had narrowly missed out on the podium in 2012 Games in London, where she lost the bronze medal match in the same event.
Ernie Gawilan: Para swimming
Ernie Gawilan from Davao City is the representative for Para swimming’s Men's 200m Individual Medley SM7, Men’s 400m freestyle S7, and Men’s 100m backstroke S7. He ended his Paralympics stint and landed 10th place overall.
He bagged three gold and two silvers in the Asiad and ruled the ASEAN para swimming scene after being a seven-time gold medalist. He also participated in the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
He was the most bemedaled Filipino para athlete in the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
In the 2021 World Para Swimming World Series in Berlin, Germany, he bagged the bronze medal in the 400m freestyle and secured a direct qualification to the Tokyo Games.
Gawilan was born with underdeveloped extremities after his mother’s failed abortion. He was orphaned at an early age and left under the care of nuns when he discovered swimming.
Jerrold Mangliwan: Para athletics
Jerrold Mangliwan from Tabuk, Kalinga is a two-time ASEAN Para Games gold medalist, winning gold medals at the 100m and 200m T52 race. He also won a silver at the 400m T52 race. He has a paralympic record of 16.79 in the 2012 London Games. He finished seventh in the 2016 Rio Games.
He secured a Tokyo Paralympics berth based on his past performances cleared by the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) minimum qualifying standard (MQS) and minimum entry slot (MES).
At the 2020 Summer Paralympics, Mangliwan is the representative for Para athletics’ Men's 400m T52, Men’s 1500m T52, and Men’s 100m T52. He finished 5th in the men’s 400m T52 event but got disqualified for lane infringement. He clocked in a personal best of 1:00.80.
Mangliwan finished sixth out of seven racers, clocking in a time of 3:58.24. He concluded his campaign in the Tokyo Paralympics with an eighth-place finish in the men’s 100m T52 finals, with a time of 20.08.
Mangliwan has paraplegia after being diagnosed with polio when he was two years old. He started wheelchair racing in 2009 after his friends and coaches encouraged him to get into para athletics.
Allain Ganapin: Para taekwondo
Allain Ganapin from Marikina City is the first Filipino para taekwondo jin to qualify for the quadrennial meet as the sports made its debut in Tokyo. He is the country’s representative at Para taekwondo’s Men’s K44 -75kg .
Ganapin has been with the Philippine team since 2015. He qualified for the World Para Games via a bipartite invitation by the World Taekwondo Federation. He won a bronze medal in the 2017 Oceania Para Taekwondo Open and another bronze at the 2021 Asian Olympic qualifiers.
For the 2020 Paralympic Games, he trained alongside able-bodied taekwondo athletes including Filipino taekwondoka Kurt Barbosa. However, he was not able to compete in the games after testing positive for COVID-19. He was supposed to make his Paralympic debut after securing a slot in the men’s K44 -75kg division. Fellow Filipino para athletes powerlifter Achelle Guion and discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda also tested positive for the virus.
Ganapin, who was born with an amputated right arm due to complications with the umbilical cord during his birth, aims to inspire the differently abled who are victims of bullying like him when he was younger. He is a Bachelor of Physical Education graduate from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina.
Jeanette Aceveda: Para athletics
Jeanette Aceveda from Mindoro is the first visually impaired Filipino athlete to make the Paralympics. She was supposed to be the country’s representative at the Para athletics’ Women’s discus throw F11. She qualified via MQS and MES, which considered her discus throw performance in a tournament in France. Her personal best of 18.27 meters, eclipsed the MQS of 18 meters.
She has been part of the national team since 1997. She won two gold medals from the discus and shotput events in the 2014 ASEAN Para Games.
Aceveda however, did not make it to the Tokyo Paralympics, after testing positive for COVID-19.
She was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa on one eye when she was three years old. It started to affect her other eye, which made her partially blind. She also sustained injuries from a motorcycle accident in 2010.
Gary Bejino: Para swimming
Gary Bejino from Albay is the country’s representative at Para swimming’s Men’s 200m individual medley SM6, Men’s 400m freestyle S6, Men’s 50m butterfly S6, and Men’s 100m backstroke S6. He qualified for the Tokyo Games based on his performances in the 2018 Asian Para Games where he won a silver and two bronze medals.
He was seven years old when he had his arm and leg amputated after getting burned from an electric shock.
At the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, Bejino opened the Philippine’s campaign. He is the country’s representative at para swimming’s Men’s 200m individual medley SM6, Men’s 400m freestyle S6, Men’s 50m butterfly S6, and Men’s 100m backstroke S6. He finished 14th overall out of 16 swimmers in the men’s 50m butterfly S6 heats; last out of the 17 swimmers at men's 200m individual medley SM6 event; and last among 13 swimmers at the men’s 400m freestyle s6 event. He still has a chance to reach the finals as he competes in the men’s 100m backstroke S6 event.
Achelle Guion: Powerlifting
Veteran powerlifter Achelle Guion from Sipalay City, Negros Occidental was supposed to be the country’s representative at the Powerlifting’s Women’s -45kg event. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) gave Guion a bipartite approval to allow her to compete in the women’s -45kg event.
The event was supposed to be her second Paralympic Games berth. Her last Paralympics was in the 2012 London Games, where she finished sixth of eight competitors. However, Guion tested positive for COVID-19 before flying to Tokyo for the World Para Games.
She bagged two silver medals in the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games. Guion was struck with polio when she was one year old.
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