All six Filipino Paralympians know that they are capable of making waves in the quadrennial meet.
Two-time Paralympic swimmer Ernie Gawilan said the team is taking its campaign in the World Para Games seriously as they will be competing with the best in the world.
“Class A po yung mga atleta na nandoon. Hindi lang siya bato-bato pick na madaling laruin,” said Gawilan on Thursday, August 19, in the Citi Philippines’ send-off for the para athletes.
(Class A athletes compete in the Paralympics. It’s not easy like the rock, paper, scissors game.)
Tokyo Paralympics chef de mission Francis “Kiko” Diaz echoed Gawilan’s sentiments, saying the campaign also hinges largely on the mindset of the whole team.
“Actually, yung kinwento ni Ernie kanina, it’s the mindset of each and everyone in the para team. Alam nila ano ang challenges na pinagdaanan nila, alam nila ang sakripsiyo ng mga coaches, hindi nila sasayangin ‘yung opportunity,” said Diaz.
(Like what Ernie said, it’s in the mindset of each and everyone in the para team. They know what challenges they went through, the sacrifices of the coaches and they won’t waste this opportunity.)
The delegation is targeting to surpass the 2016 Rio Paralympics performance of one bronze medal delivered by para table tennis player Josephine Medina.
The Philippines has tallied only two bronze medals in the quadrennial meet with the other coming from powerlifter Adeline Dumapong in the 2000 Sydney Games.
Gawilan, who will be the flag bearer in the closing ceremony, will be joined by opening ceremony flag bearer and wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan, discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda, swimmer Gary Bejino, powerlifter Achelle Guion, and taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin.
The Tokyo Paralympics will be staged from August 24 to September 5. – Rappler.com