Ernie Gawilan
Photo Courtesy of Philippine Sports Commission
Gawilan, Chi clinch Phl’s first 2 gold medals in Asian Para Games
(The Philippine Star) - October 9, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A swimmer and a tenpin bowler produced the first two gold medals in an inspiring start for Team Philippines in the Asian Para Games Sunday in Jakarta.

Swimmer Ernie Gawilan delivered the first-ever gold medal with a win in the men’s 200m individual medley SM7 category at the GBK Aquatic Center in Jakarta.

Kim Ian Chi gave the country its second gold by topping the mixed singles TPB10 event with 231.30 pinfalls, beating Korean Hong Wonju (229.0) and Thai Raiwin Phissithanakul and Singaporean Tan Swang Hee, both with 221.70.

In its maiden participation in the Asian Para Games in 2010, the Philippines posted a 0-4-3 (gold-silver-bronze) haul.

The golds are worth P1M each in incentives from the government.

The 27-year-old Gawilan from Davao timed 2:52.3,  edging Chinese Taipei’s Chen Liang-da by 3.47 seconds for the gold medal. India’s Jadhav Narayan placed third.

The 2016 Rio Paralympics veteran failed to make it two in a row as he later settled for silver in the 50m freestyle S7 event, clocking 31.93 seconds to finish 2.92 seconds behind gold medalist Toh Wei Soong of Singapore. Narayan took his second bronze in 32.16.

In the 2014 Asian Para Games in Korea, Gawilan, born with underdeveloped extremities resulting in the loss of both legs and an underdeveloped left limb, bagged three of the country’s five bronze medals. Phl also won five silver medals.

The other silver medal winners were Gary Bejino in the men’s 100m backstroke S6 (01:28.54) and powerlifter Achelle Guionn  in  women’s 45kg.

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