Gameplan: Pinoy wheelchair racer sprints with a strong heart
MANILA, Philippines – 37 year-old Jerold Pete Mangliwan struggled with the loss of both his legs after being diagnosed for poliomyelitis when he was two years old. He had no memories of being able to walk, but the support from his family and friends enabled him to live a normal life; an athletic one even.
It was not until 2009 that he found himself racing for the Philippine athletics team for the ASEAN Para Games in Malaysia where he won two gold medals. “I wanted to test myself, so I tried track. I had a friend who did wheelchair racing. We rode our wheel chairs from Montalban to Cubao. It took us about five hours, non-stop. I continued training, and that’s when I started to become a national athlete. I kept going until today,” he shared.
Jerold is responsible for nearly a third of the Philippines’ medal haul in athletics, and he has a rigid training schedule to secure his performance. “The preparation is so long, but the event is done in seconds. My stomach feels like it’s on fire from the force I apply. My knees are bent for hours so I get numb. Sometimes I can’t help but hit my fingers on the wheels. I get wounded,” he said.
Jerold has worked his way to be among the top racers in South East Asia, and the fulfilment of his dreams can be credited to two things - a strong mind and an even stronger heart. “The physical pain can be overcome by the mind. Quitting never crossed my mind. I just tell myself that there will always be a finish line. The pain will only last for a while. You have to love what you do. You need a strong heart. With it, you can achieve all your dreams in life,” the athlete shared. – Rappler.com