Mangliwan, Bejino return to action in Tokyo Paralympic Games

FILIPINO wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan is down to his final event — men’s 100m T52 — at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. –JERROLD MANGLIWAN FB PAGE

FILIPINO wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan and para-swimmer Gary Bejino resume their respective campaigns at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Thursday.

Mr. Mangliwan will see action in the preliminaries of the men’s 100m T52 event at the Olympic Stadium with an eye on the finals the next day while Mr. Bejino competes in the heats of the 400m freestyle in the morning and is hoping to qualify for the medal race in the afternoon at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.

Forty-one-year-old Mr. Mangliwan, who has paraplegia acquired from polio, has competed in two events in the ongoing sporting meet for the differently abled, making it to the finals of both the men’s 400m and 1500m T52 events.

Unfortunately, he was disqualified in the 400m finals on Aug. 27 because of lane infringement, but redeemed himself in the 1500m two days later with a sixth-place finish, but with a new personal-best time of 3:58.24, eclipsing his previous best of 4:09.95.

He is now looking to do well in his last shot at snatching a medal in the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

“Jerrold’s training the last two days has been focused on his starts. That is his weakness. The start is important in the sprint event. His one-hour training has been devoted mostly to this,” said para-athletic coach Joel Deriada.

Mr. Bejino, 25, for his part, struggled in his first events in Tokyo, failing to swim past the preliminaries of the men’s 200m individual medley SM6 event on Aug. 26 and 50m butterfly on Aug. 30.

The para-swimmer, who had his arm and leg amputated when he was seven years old after being electrocuted, finished last in the 200m IM with a time of 3:17.19 while he ended up 14th out of 16 swimmers in the 50m butterfly.

“I think Gary is more relaxed now after getting his personal best time in the 50-meter butterfly event last Monday. Hopefully, he will also make a good time in the 400-meter freestyle,” said para-swimming coach Tony Ong.

Apart from the 400m freestyle, Mr. Bejino will also see action in the 100m backstroke on Friday.

Messrs. Mangliwan and Bejino, along with para-taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin, are the only remaining competing members of the Philippine Sports Commission-supported Team Philippines in the Tokyo Paralympics after para-swimmer Ernie Gawilan ended his campaign on Monday and blind discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda and para-powerlifter Achelle Guion unable to compete because of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). — Michael Angelo S. Murillo