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Monday, April 15, 2024

Para swimmer Bejino qualifies for Tokyo Games

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GARY BEJINO became the fifth para athlete after Rio 2016 veteran Ernie Gawilan and three others to qualify for the Paralympic Games Tokyo is hosting from August 24 to September 5.

Bejino qualified for the Games after the World Para Swimming granted the bipartite application of Philippine para swimming coach Tony Ong on Tuesday night.

Bipartite slots are awarded to individual athletes, not to the national paralympic committee. Bipartite decisions by International Paralympic Committee and the international federations are not subject to any protests or appeals.

“It’s great that I was given the chance to swim in the Paralympics,” Bejino told BusinessMirror on Wednesday. “It’s my first time in the Paralympics so I am very happy.”

The 25-year-old swimmer from Malilipot in Albay will compete in the 400-meter freestyle, 50m butterfly, 200m individual medley and 100m backstroke of the S6 classification. Gawilan, also a swimmer, is in the S7 class. In para games, S stands for swimming while the number represents the athlete’s degree of disability.

“This is the first time that we’ll be having two para swimmers in the Paralympics,” Ong said. “We’re really rejoicing about it, and we’re hoping their performance will be successful.”

Bejino bagged the men’s S6 200m individual medley silver and 100m freestyle and backstoke bronze medals in the Jakarta 2018 Asian Para Games where Gawilan emerged as the most successful Filipino athlete with three gold and two silver medals.

Philippine Paralympic Committee President Michael Barredo congratulated Bejino for making it to the Paralympics.

“Hopefully Team Philippines can garner a few more to increase our chances of getting medals at the Games,” said Barredo, who thanked the Philippine Sports Commission for its all out support to the para athletes.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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