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Ernie Gawilan rues ASEAN Para Games cancellation, looks forward to Paralympics

By Kristel Satumbaga

Ernie Gawilan is saddened at the ASEAN Para Games cancellation but is choosing to focus on future tournaments that include the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics rescheduled next year.

Para-swimmer Ernie Gawilan

Para-swimmer Ernie Gawilan

Gawilan, 29, said he is more concerned on his rookie teammates who have been looking forward to competing and winning medals for the country.

“Nanghihinayang po, hindi lang po para sa akin kundi doon sa mga baguhan. Pero pandaigdigang problema po ito kaya walang ibang choice kundi tanggapin lang,” he said.

Gawilan is currently quarantined in Samal Island after all national athletes were sent home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Though quarantine restrictions were eased, he said he hasn’t trained in the pool yet.

“Wala pa rin po kasing bukas na resort dito,” Gawilan said.

Gawilan is the first Filipino to qualify in the Tokyo Paralympics following his golden performance at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia.

He topped the 400-meter freestyles (S7 class), 100m backstroke (S7 class), and 200m individual medley (SM7 class) to earn qualification points.

However, he will still need to compete in one more Paralympic Qualifier to reclassify his disability—limb deficiency—before finalizing his entry to the Tokyo Games.

Getting into peak form is a challenge for Gawilan because all he has been doing is land training. He hopes to plunge into the pool soon.

This will be Gawilan’s second Olympics after debuting at the 2016 Rio Games.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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