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Friday, April 19, 2024

Filipino para athletes grope for form

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NOT wanting to disappoint his coach who was forced to stay home due to Covid-19, Jerrold Mangliwan scrambled to the finals of the T52 men’s 400-meter race on Friday by placing seventh in the heats of the Tokyo Paralympic Games athletics at the Japan National Stadium.

Wheelchair racer Mangliwan overcame a sluggish start to hit his stride at the halfway mark and wound up in fourth place in the first heat, clocking one minute and 3.41 seconds, topped by American defending champion Martin Raymond in 57.70 seconds.

The time was enough for the pride of Tabuk (Kalinga) to book his spot in the finals at 8:16 p.m. (7:16 p.m. in Manila) after finishing among the top 8 qualifiers in two heats in a field of 11 entries of the outing bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Mangliwan will be racing in lane No. 3 beside Raymond, of Filipino-Irish descent and a triple gold medalist in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, in lane No. 4, bidding to give the country its first medal in the third day of action of the sports fest featuring the world’s finest para athletes.

The 2015 Singapore Asean Para Games double gold medalist had earlier dedicated his race to coach Joel Deriada, who was grounded in the Philippines after testing positive for the virus before the national team left for the Japanese capital.

“A slow start has been Jerrold’s weakness. He trailed at the start but managed to catch up midway through,” said Deriada from Manila after witnessing the race live via video streaming.

He continued to have faith in the athlete, who boasts a personal best time of 1:02.17 set last May at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland.

“Actually, Mangliwan’s fastest time is 1:00.97 when he got the silver medal in the event in the Singapore Asean Para Games,” Deriada said. “But it was not recognized because the meet was not sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee.”

Swimmer Ernie Gawilan missed the finals of the SM7 men’s 200-meter individual medley after placing ninth overall in the heats with a personal best time of 2:50.49  at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.  The top 8 swimmers advance to the finals in the afternoon.

Swimming coach Tony Ong noted that Gawilan’s clocking was faster than the 2:52 he set in winning the gold medal in the same event during the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“Ernie will be a reserve in the finals later this afternoon in the event a swimmer backs out,” he said.

Philippine Paralympic Committee President Mike Barredo, together with IPC President Andrew Parsons, awarded last Thursday the medals in the men’s -49-kilogram division of powerlifting at the Tokyo International Forum.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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