Asian Games

Paralympian swimmer Ernie Gawilan nails 1st PH gold in 4th Asian Para Games

JR Isaga

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Paralympian swimmer Ernie Gawilan nails 1st PH gold in 4th Asian Para Games

STAR SWIMMER. Filipino para swimmer Enie Gawilan at the 4th Asian Para Games

PSC-POC Media Pool

Filipino para swimmer Ernie Gawilan notches his fourth career Asian Para Games gold - the country's first in Hangzhou - in the men's 400m freestyle, while wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan earns silver No. 1

MANILA, Philippines – In just the second day of the 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China, the Philippine delegation broke through the gold medal tally as Ernie Gawilan ruled the men’s 400m freestyle-S7 event on Tuesday, October 24.

Long hailed as one of the top stars of Philippine para sports, the 32-year-old Gawilan cruised to his fourth career Asian Para gold with a 4:58.29 finish time – 13.87 seconds ahead of Singaporean silver medalist Toh Wei Soon (5:12.16).

The race effectively turned to be a virtual battle for second as China’s Huang Xianquan was not far behind with a 5:16.63 time to clinch bronze, while India’s Niranjan Mukudan barely missed the podium at 5:16.85.

This is Gawilan’s second medal of the event after earning bronze last Monday, October 23, at the men’s 200m individual medley-SM7. Prior to the Hangzhou Para Games, his three other golds all came from the 2018 edition of the quadrennial meet in Jakarta.

“I’m really, really happy because I was able to bounce back from my loss yesterday,” Gawilan told reporters in Filipino. “It’s a big joy for me that I’m not just the athlete who gave the country the first medal, but now also the first gold. That doesn’t happen too often.”

The Philippines also cracked the silver medal list for the first time as wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan finished with a personal best time of 18.65 seconds in the men’s 100m-T52, only behind Japan’s Ito Tatsuya, who clocked in at an Asian Para Games record 17.41 seconds.

Thanks to Gawilan and Mangliwan, the Filipino contingent now stands at 17th in the overall tally with one gold, one silver, and two bronzes.

Host China expectedly leads the medal board by a wide margin with 67 golds, 53 silvers, and 45 bronzes as of 9:30 pm. Iran is a distant second with a 16-19-12 tally in the week-long athletic showpiece. –

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