Wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan and discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda both believe in their own strengths to overcome the strong opposition in their respective events in the Paralympics.
“Ang umaaayaw ay hindi mag-wawagi. Kaya hindi tayo umaayaw,” said Mangliwan, who will serve as the country’s flag bearer in the opening ceremonies.
(The ones who back down won’t win, so we won’t back down.)
“Kung titignan natin yong record nila (ang kalaban), malakas po sila. Pero malakas din po tayo,” echoed Aceveda of the sentiments of her fellow athlete in an interview last Monday, August 23 inside the Athletes Village.
(If we look at the records of the opponents, they’re strong, but we’re strong too.)
The tall and stocky Aceveda, who won three golds in the 2013 ASEAN Para Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, was keenly aware of the challenges facing them.
“Salang-sala na po yan sa bansang pinanggalingan nila so battle of the champions na po yan. Eh, hindi po tayo susuko,” said the 50-year-old mother of three who manages three massage therapy clinics in different malls in Marikina.
(The athletes were carefully chosen in their home countries, so that’s already a battle of the champions, but we won’t give up.)
Mangliwan will be the first to see action between them on Friday, August 27 in the T52 men’s 400-meter race, with the heats scheduled in the morning and the finals in the evening.
His coach, Joel Deriada, believes in the potential of the 2016 Rio Para Games veteran in reaching the finals of the first of three events, if he plays his cards right.
“Nakita na namin yong record ng kalaban ni coach Joel kaya nakita namin may malaking pag-asa ako makapasok sa event na to,” Mangliwan said. “Yun ang pinaka-goal ko is to make it to the finals po talaga. Kung makuha ko po yung goal ko na yon, all out na po doon.”
(Coach Joel and I saw the records of the opponents, and we believe that I have a high chance of qualifying for the finals of the event. My main goal is to make it to the finals then after I achieve the goal, it will be all out already.)
The wheelchair racer’s other events are the men’s 1,500-meter race on Saturday and the 100-meter sprint, beginning with the heats on September 2 and the finals on a succeeding day.
“Bali gusto din po natin makapasok sa finals. At siyempre po, manalo. Ibibigay namin yong best namin,” said Aceveda, who was a diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa – a regenerative disease that made her partially blind.
(We want to get into the finals and of course win. We will give it our best.)
Compounding the discus thrower’s situation is the fact that under the International Paralympic Committee and World Para rules, she will be performing blindfolded to block out whatever feeble light that some athletes might still perceive as means of equalizing the playing field.
Thankfully, Aceveda will have plenty of time to hone her technique together with coach Bernard Buen since the F11 women’s discus throw finals will be staged on Tuesday, August 31 at the Olympic Stadium.
Both athletes said they were quite comfortable with their quarters and gave the thumbs-up to the food served at the two-story Athletes Village dining hall, which is open round-the-clock to serve the over 4,000 athletes and officials from 163 countries taking part in the Tokyo Para Games.
Mangliwan said he was still trying to get used to the automated self-driving buses that move around the locations within the Athletes Village.
The movements of the vehicles are monitored by computers and video cams by assigned personnel along with the designated bus stops.
“Medyo magulo dahil walang driver pero masasanay rin kalaunan,” he said.
(It’s a bit confusing because there’s no driver, but we’ll get to used to it eventually.) – Rappler.com