With high hopes, Filipino Paralympians get settled in Tokyo
Members of the Philippine delegation have already settled down in Tokyo, leaving behind a temporary distraction in Manila and prepping up for the opening ceremonies of the 2021 Paralympic Games slated on Tuesday at Japan National Stadium.
Wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan will carry the country’s colors in the parade of nations at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. in Manila) sans the typical fanfare of a sellout crowd cheering at the stands inside the 80,000-seat arena.
Swimmers Ernie Gawilan and Gary Bejino, discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda, powerlifter Achelle Guion and taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin, who is scheduled to arrive with his coach in the Japanese capital on Aug. 29, have qualified to these Games featuring the world’s finest differently abled athletes from 163 countries.
Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo remains upbeat on their participation despite an earlier setback where an athlete and some officials and coaches were not able to board the flight to the Japanese capital on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19.
“We are confident that our athletes will give their best in the pursuit of their Paralympic dreams and to bring honor and glory to our country,’’ said Barredo, who heads a 21-man PH delegation, all of them inspired by the unprecedented triumph of Filipino athletes in the recent Olympics.
After emerging from Monday’s chef de mission (CDM) meeting, Team Philippines CDM Francis Diaz said optimism remains high that the team will bring home medals. Diaz said members of the Philippine contingent have strictly complied with the health and safety standards of the organizers.
“Even with the absence of one athlete, the chances of our medal hopefuls are still very, very favorable. Any of those remaining athletes are really medal hopefuls right at the onset,’’ said Diaz, the dean of the University of the Philippines College of Human Kinetics.
He said they would provide an update on the status of the athlete who tested positive for
“All of our team members are loving [the experience]. The atmosphere is really magnificent and the food is great. Everybody is in high spirits and our athletes are looking forward to competing in their respective events,’’ said Diaz. INQ