By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The Philippine team will be going home from the Tokyo Paralympics with some exciting and sad stories to tell.
But certainly, the experiences and struggles they encountered in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic delayed sporting spectacle will serve them well and toughen their resolve in future events.
Too bad, the PH para athletes fell short in their bids to win medal of any color this time with wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan capping off his campaign by finishing eighth and last in the men’s 100-meter T52 event.
Mangliwan timed 20.08 seconds behind eventual gold medalist Raymond Martine of the United States, who clocked 16.99sec.
Japan’s Yuki Oya (17.17sec) and Mexico’s Leonardo de Jesus Perez Juarez (17.44sec) settled for silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Mangliwan also competed in the men’s 1500m T52 where he finished sixth. He was disqualified in the men’s 400m T52 final for lane infringement despite timing a personal best.
Only three of six PH qualified athletes managed to compete as the three others tested positive for COVID-19.
Para swimmers Gary Bejino and Ernie Gawilan were the two other who managed to compete after para powerlifter Achele Guion, para discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda and para taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin were ruled out of their competitions.
Bejino likewise ended his Tokyo Paralympics campaign with a last-place finish in the men’s 100-meter backstroke S6 at the Tokyo Aquatics Center.
Bejino clocked 1 minute and 28.87 seconds for 20th place, 14.72 seconds behind top qualifier Jia Hongguang of China (1:14.15).
Only the Top 8 swimmers advance to the medal round.