Asian Para Games gold medalist Ernie Gawilan is going to Tokyo. The International Paralympic Committee has granted an allocation to a Filipino swimmer to the August 25 to September 6 Tokyo Paralympic Games, which is the Olympic competition for differently abled athletes.
The 28-year-old Gawilan, who was born in Davao City without legs and with an undeveloped left limb, was given a seat following the cancellation of the Olympic qualifiers for differently-abled athletes in Singapore last month.
The IPC instead gave allocations to numerous para athletes based on points, and on the number of competitions, which they joined last year.
The World Para Qualifiers in Singapore was called off due to the corona virus outbreak.
“There is a qualifier who got there through points. Si Ernie Gawilan ay sigurado na,” said national coach Tony Ong in a radio interview.
Gawilan started gaining points that were counted for qualification after getting three bronze medals at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea.
In Jakarta last year, he claimed the country’s first-ever gold in the Games in the men’s 200-meter individual medley (SM7).
Then, Gawilan took a silver in the 50-meter freestyle.
Ong said Gawilan has to undergo final process to make sure what events he will join in Tokyo.
He will need compete in another qualifier to re-classify his disability before formalizing his entry to the Tokyo Para Games.
He has been in S8 since 2016, which has a strong field of swimmers.
There are three other para athletes who are seeking entry to the Tokyo Games.
And these are Garry Bejino, Arnel Aba and Roland Sabido, and all have earned Paralympic Qualifying points at the 2018 Asian Para Games and 2019 World Para Championships in London.
The International Paralympic Committee handed the country one allocation for the swimming events of the Tokyo Olympics. Coach Tony Ong revealed this in a radio interview.
Gawilan, who also competed in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, only needs to compete in at least one international Paralympic competition for the reclassification of his disability.
“We are guaranteed of a berth in Tokyo,” Ong said.
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