TEAM Philippines plunges into action in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo on Thursday with para-swimmer Gary Bejino first to compete.
Mr. Bejino, 23, will swim in the 200m individual medley T52 event set in the morning (8:32 a.m. Manila time) for the heats and in the afternoon (4:22 p.m.) for the finals if he manages to qualify.
Had his arm and leg amputated when he was seven years old after being electrocuted, Mr. Bejino is looking to do well in his debut competition and set the tone for the five-athlete contingent in the sporting event for the differently abled.
“I’m a bit nervous because I’m the first to compete for the Philippines but everything is okay and I’m ready to go,” said Mr. Bejino, a back-to-back gold medalist in the ASEAN Para Games (Singapore, 2015 and Malaysia, 2017), in Filipino. Mr. Bejino will also see action in the men’s 50m butterfly S6 event on Sept. 2 and in the men’s 400m freestyle S6 on Sept. 3.
Another Filipino para-swimmer competing in Tokyo is Ernie Gawilan.
Incidentally, Mr. Bejino was to be joined in the Thursday events by para-powerlifter Achelle Guion, who had to stay at home in the country after testing positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the day of the Philippine contingent’s departure for Tokyo last Sunday. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo