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Gawilan’s gold fires up Filipino para athletes


HANGZHOU, China — Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo firmly believes that swimmer Ernie Gawilan’s first gold in the 4th Asian Para Games last Tuesday night will start the ball rolling and inspire the other athletes vying for honors here.

“I knew that Ernie was going to win the first gold for us and, normally, this starts the ball rolling and the other athletes get inspired to do the same thing,” said Barredo, who was on hand when Gawilan retained the men’s 400-meter freestyle S7 event at the Hangzhou Olympic Center Aquatic Arena.

“That the beauty and importance of the first gold. And with a few days more to go in the Asian Para Games, I am confident we may win more as Gawilan’s triumph boosts everyone to follow his lead.”

He cited chess and athletics as possible sources of golds, especially after wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan copped the silver in the men’s 100-meter T52 finals last Tuesday and was one of the favorites in the men’s 400-meter event on Friday.

Gawilan was looking at a second mint in the men’s 100-meter backstroke on Thursday in the trip supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

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