Members of the Philippine Tokyo 2020 Paralympics team said they were inspired by the country’s historic performance in the Olympics that they dream of nailing a record-setting stint too.
Despite not putting any pressure on the athletes, Paralympics chef de mission (CDM) Francis Diaz knows how motivated they are for the quadrennial meet that will run from August 24 to September 5.
“Nasasabi ko ito kasi dahil grabe na ang pinagdaanan ng mga athletes natin para lang mag-qualify. Therefore performance-wise each and every one is ready and prepared to compete in the Tokyo Paralympic Games,” said Diaz on Tuesday, August 17 in the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum.
(I say this because they prepare so hard to qualify. Performance-wise, every one is ready and prepared to compete in the Tokyo Paralympic Games.)
“Whether this effort lands them a medal or not, me being the CDM and their coaches, this is what we are hoping and praying for, so there is no pressure whatsoever.”
The country has tallied two bronze medals in the past stagings where powerlifter Adeline Dumapong put the country in the medal tally for the first time in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and para table tennis player Josephine Medina crashed into the podium in the 2016 Rio Games.
Para swimmer Ernie Gawilan, who was present in the forum, was optimistic of his chances of making it to the final of the men’s 400m freestyle S7, as he currently ranks No. 10.
“Na-lift up din kami sa tagumpay sa nangyari sa Tokyo Olympics. Parang mas namotivate din kami sa dadating na Paralympics,” added the two-time Paralympian, who was tapped to be the closing ceremony flag bearer.
(We were uplifted by the triumph of the country in the Tokyo Olympics. It’s like we were more motivated going into the Paralympics.)
Gawilan was the most bemedaled Filipino athlete in the 2018 Asian Para Games where the country raked in a whopping haul of 10 gold medals.
Para taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin is also excited for his maiden appearance in the biggest stage of sports.
He hoped to make it to the final of the men’s -75kg event.
“‘Yung makaperform nang maayos [ang in-eexpect ko]. Makapag-perform sa final,” said Ganapin.
(I expect to be able to perform well and for me to perform in the final.)
The four other members include wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan (para athletics), discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda (para athletics), swimmer Gary Bejino, and powerlifter Achelle Guion.
Mangliwan will carry the flag during the opening ceremony on Tuesday, August 24. – Rappler.com