Ernie Galiwan
Gawilan cinch to make Tokyo Games
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Ernie Gawilan came into the world as someone who survived abortion and grew up with underdeveloped legs and left arm. But he did not let it stop him from a shot at a second trip to the Paralympics.

Chance is strong the 28-year-old Gawilan would become the first Filipino to qualify to this September’s Tokyo Games where he would make his second appearance after his first in the last Paralympics.

Philippine para swimming team coach Tony Ong said World Para Swimming has officially allotted a seat to the country that should go to Gawilan, who has met the minimum qualifying standard time in the 400m freestyle S6 event.

“As far as Ernie Gawilan is concerned, he is being groomed to get the slot,” said Ong.

Gawilan will just need to compete in a qualifying tournament to make his Tokyo qualification official.

“We are still waiting for another qualifying race so that Ernie can be reclassified,” said Ong.

Gawilan is currently the country’s best tanker after he snared three gold medals in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Para Games. And hope is high he could deliver the country’s very first gold in the quadrennial event.

Gary Bejino, who is also eligible for a slot having met the qualifying standard, has an equally strong chance of making the Paralympic cut.

“We will also put Gary Bejino for a bipartite because he is also qualified,” said Ong.

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