Ernie Gawilan lands at 6th in Paralympic freestyle finals

Delfin Dioquino

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ONE LAST SHOT. Ernie Gawilan still has one event left in the Tokyo Paralympics.

Jat Tenorio/Red Ox Media Events

Filipino para swimmer Ernie Gawilan misses out on the 400m freestyle S7 podium but gets another chance in his final event on Monday

Filipino para swimmer Ernie Gawilan wound up at sixth place in the finals of the men’s 400m freestyle S7 competition in the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday, August 29.

Gawilan recorded a time of 4:56.24 as he beat out two other para swimmers in the eight-man finale.

With the second-slowest reaction time of 0.80 second, the Asian Games gold medalist in the same event fell behind early at seventh place before he recovered late in the race to finish sixth.

Gawilan overtook Singapore’s Wei Soong Toh, who ended up at seventh, for sixth place in the final 100 meters.

Despite not winning a medal, Gawilan eclipsed his qualifying time of 4:58.58 in heats earlier in the day as he became the first Filipino para swimmer to reach the finals of the quadrennial meet.

Israel’s Mark Malyar, meanwhile, reset his world and Paralympic records with a time of 4:31.06 as he bagged his second gold in Tokyo.

Shattering the Paralympic mark in the heats earlier in the day with a 4:41.82 clocking, Malyar proved to be on a league of his own as he broke the previous world record of 4:33.64 he set in 2019.

Ukraine’s Andrii Trusov clinched silver with 4.35.56, while USA’s Evan Austin tallied 4:38.95 to snag the bronze and edge Argentina’s Inaki Basiloff, who fell short of the podium with 4:38.99.

Gawilan will see action again on Monday, August 30, in the men’s 100m backstroke S7, his final event in Tokyo. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.