Paris Olympics

Filipino para athletes eye 10 bets in Paris Paralympics

Philip Matel

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Filipino para athletes eye 10 bets in Paris Paralympics

PARIS HOPEFULS. Filipino national athletes and para bets with Philippine sports heads and French embassy officials during the photo exhibit marking the 100-day countdown of the Paris Olympics.


More Filipino athletes are expected to join para swimmers Ernie Gawilan and Angel Otom, and para taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin in the Paris Paralympics roster

MANILA, Philippines –  After three Filipino para athletes booked their tickets to the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) eyes about seven more bets to qualify in the quadrennial event.

Para swimmers Ernie Gawilan and Angel Otom clinched their slots via minimum qualifying standard through their placing in the world championships last February, while para taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin claimed the coveted Asian spot after acing the Asian Qualification Tournament in China last March.

But PPC head Mike Barredo thinks the Philippines can surpass the six-athlete roster it sent in the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021. 

“We’re hoping to get at least two more in para athletics, including (wheelchair racer) Jerrold Mangliwan, one or two more in swimming, and maybe a bipartite slot for archery… or para powerlifting,” Barredo told Rappler on Tuesday, April 16.

“It’s at least a minimum of six and a maximum of 10, at least for these para games in Paris,” he added.

The Philippines hopes to come out stronger with Gawilan, a two-time Paralympian, bringing home gold medals from the 3rd and 4th Asian Para Games, and Otom seizing four golds in the 2023 ASEAN Para Games in Cambodia.

Ganapin, who made history as the first Filipino taekwondo jin to qualify in the Paralympics in 2021, likewise feels motivated as he failed to see action in the Tokyo Paralympics after testing positive for COVID-19 just days before the competition.

Barredo also credited the enactment into law of Republic Act 10699 or the Expanded National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, which has inspired more para athletes to persevere.

According to Barredo, a longtime sports executive, the athletes are making the most out of their year-round allowances, foreign-based training, as well as exposure in international tournaments.

The Paralympic Games are set to be held in the French capital starting August 28, just a couple of weeks after the 2024 Olympics.

“France itself, the Organizing Committee, is offering some sites or some places in France that they can train, or in neighboring countries, so that they can acclimatize themselves to the weather at that time,” said Barredo.

“I know I heard it might be very warm in July, August, and September. And we’ve had two offers to bring our athletes or para athletes to train in Japan, and some other parts in Asia, I guess the weather will not be as much different,” he continued.

Barredo was present during the Olympic torch relay participated by the French and Greek embassies at the Mall of Asia complex, which marked the 100-day countdown before the start of the Olympiad on July 26.

It coincided with the Olympic flame lighting in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games, which were held as early as 776 BC.

Both French ambassador Marie Fontanel and Greek ambassador Ioannis Pediotis held the torch, to symbolize the start and end point of the lit torch.

“We really wanted it to happen here in Manila, that’s why we decided to have this Olympic torch ceremony,” Fontanel said.

The French embassy also launched a photo exhibit featuring snaps from international news service Agence France Presse, which shows the triumphs of both Filipino and foreign Olympians and Paralympians. –

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