Ernie Gawilan is 1st Filipino Qualifier, Torchbearer for Tokyo Paralympics

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Ernie Gawilan
Ernie Gawilan will represent the Philippines in the swimming events of the 2020 Summer Paralympics. Photo by Gerry Kiko Aguelo.

Filipino para-athlete Ernie Gawilan is bound for the 16th Summer Paralympics in Tokyo as its first Filipino qualifier. The champion para swimmer has also been invited as a torchbearer for the opening of the games for differently-abled athletes held right after the Summer Olympics.

Ernie Gawilan was announced by the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) on February 20, 2020, as the first Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics scheduled from August 25 to September 6 in Japan, after the International Paralympic Committee confirmed the allocation of one swimmer to represent the Philippines.

Gawilan, a Rio Paralympian in 2016, a triple Gold medalist at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia, and the 2019 World Para Swimming Silver medalist in London, earned the most Paralympics Qualifying points to secure the lone slot.

The PPC also announced the need to formalize Gawilan’s entry to the Tokyo Paralympics by competing in one more Para Qualifier to re-classify his disability.

Ernie Gawilan also revealed in media interviews that he has been invited to serve as torch bearer at the opening of the quadrennial games.

Gawilan and the country’s para-athletes had been preparing for the 2020 ASEAN Para Games previously scheduled to be held after the 2019 Southeast Asian Games at New Clark City. However, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus now renamed Covid-19 caused the regional games to be postponed.

Ernie Gawilan joins fellow Filipino athletes pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and Carlos Edriel Yulo who already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS AND WELL WISHES in the comments below to Ernie Gawilan for qualifying for the Tokyo Paralympics!

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