Swimming: Ernie Gawilan first Pinoy to qualify for 2020 Paralympics

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2020 08:11 PM

Swimmer Ernie Gawilan won 3 gold medals in the 2018 Asian Para Games. Simon Bruty for OIS/IOC via AFP/file

Filipino swimmer Ernie Gawilan will be competing in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, thanks to a strong showing in international competition, particularly the 2018 Asian Para Games.

The Philippine Sports Commission confirmed the development by congratulating Gawilan on social media.

The Davao City native also participated in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

 

During the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Gawilan won gold medals in the men's 400 meters freestyle S7, 200 meters individual medley SM7, and 100 meters backstroke S7 to go with two silver medals, making him the first Filipino to win gold in the regional competition.

S7 and SM7 are disability swimming classifications.

According to the official Paralympics website, "(S7) sport class is designated to athletes with one leg and one arm amputation on opposite sides, or a paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side. Moreover, swimmers with full control over arms and trunk and some leg function can compete in this class."

Gawilan, as part of the national Paralympic swimming team, currently trains at New Clark City in Capas town, Tarlac.

With Gawilan qualifying, the PSC is motivated to continue its support of the national Paralympic program.

Last January, the PSC provided the national para swimming, the women's basketball and the para-sitting volleyball teams almost P800,000 for expenses related to training, venue rentals, allowances, meals and accommodation. 

According to the Philippine Paralympic Committee, swimmer Gary Bejino also has a chance to secure a spot as more slots are to be opened by virtue of the bipartite process. 

The 2020 Paralympics run from August 25 to September 6.

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