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Photo by Jat Tenorio/Philippine Sports Commission

2020 Tokyo Olympics

Ernie Gawilan finishes sixth in Paralympics 400m freestyle S7

Ernie Gawilan finished strong to ultimately finish in sixth place at the final of the men’s 400-meter freestyle S7 of the 2020 Paralympic Games swimming tournament at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, Sunday.

The reigning Asian Games champion used a strong back end to finish the race in sixth place with a time of 4:56.24, more than two seconds off his qualifying time and ended as the top Asian among the three from the continent ahead of Singapore’s Wei Soong Toh and Chinese Taipei’s Chen Liang-Da.

Gawilan was once more the slowest off the blocks, which could have hampered his initial foray into the pool where he lingered in seventh place for a good one-half of the race just ahead of Chen.

Nonetheless, the 30-year-old seasoned veteran used his experience and his powerful finishing to finally take over Teh before the 300-meter mark to touch the wall at 3:41.99 at the said distance, almost four second ahead of the Singaporean.

Mark Malyar of Israel, the new Paralympic record holder, and the world record holder was an act of his own, pulling away from the closest pursuer in Ukraine’s Andrii Tursunov at, incidentally, the same distance of 300 meters.

Malyar eventually reset the world record he set two years ago with a new mark of 4:31.06, en route to taking his second gold medal of the Games. Tursunov settled for the silver with a time of 4.50 seconds later. USA’s Evan Austin edged out Argentina’s Inaki Basiloff for the bronze, with just 0.04 seconds separating them apart.

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Gawilan will return to action the following day as he takes on the pool for his final event of the Games, the heats of the men’s 100-meter backstroke S7 at 8:03 a.m.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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