MANILA, Philippines – The country's search for a first Asian Para Games gold medal has ended right on opening day as para swimmer Ernie Gawilan ruled the 2018 continental games on Sunday, October 7 at the Gelora Bung Karno Aquatic Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The 27-year-old clocked 2:52.43 in the men's 200m individual medley SM7 to bag the gold as Chinese-Taipei's Chen Liang Da (2:55.90) and India's Jadhav Suyash Narayan (2:56.51) rounded out the podium winners.
Gawilan – the Davao City native born with no legs and an incomplete arm – also snagged a silver in the men's 50m freestyle S7 with a 31.93s clocking behind gold medalist Singapore's Wei Soong Toh (29.01s). Narayan also finished with another bronze with a time of 32.16s.
Aside from Gawilan's double-medal opening day performance, the Philippine nabbed two more medals for a 5th place standing in the medaly tally.
Gawilan's teammate Gary Bejino bagged the bronze in the men's 100m backstroke with a 1:28.54 clocking behind silver medalist Aung Myint Myat of Myanmar (1:24.84) and gold winner Yang Hong of China (1:18.97).
In para powerlifting, Achelle Guion clinched a silver medal after lifting a total of 67kg in the women's 45kg event. China's Lingling Guo was unreachable as she broke the world record with a lift of 115kg for the gold.
Kazakhstan's Alina Solodukhina trailed the Filipina by one kilogram to settle for a bronze medal finish.
Other potential gold-medal bets set to see action for the country in the coming days are veteran para powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta and para table tennis player Josephine Medina. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.