TOKYO – After being disqualified last Friday night, wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan will be keen on redeeming himself as he competes in the finals of the men’s 1,500-meter-T52 race on Sunday in the Tokyo Paralympic Games at the Japan National Stadium here.
Mangliwan will be lining up on lane 4 of the field of seven outright finalists in the event scheduled at 8:42 p.m. (7:42 p.m. in Manila), two days after his result in the 400-meter run was nullified after he crossed the lane of Austria’s Thomas Geierspichler near the finish line.
This violated World Para Athletics Rule 18.a, regarding lane crossing and obstruction, a mistake also committed by American Isaiah Rigo that led to his disqualification, explained national para-athletic coach Joel Deriada from Manila on Saturday.
Had everything been okay, the Pinoy campaigner would have finished fifth overall in a new national record of one minute and .80 seconds, according to Deriada, who had talked to the athlete shortly after the dismal outcome.
“Hindi alam ni Jerrold na na-DQ siya kasi umalis na siya kaagad pagkatapos niyang makita yong time at pumunta sa dining hall ng makausap ko,” Deriada said.
“Tinanong ko kung alam niya na pumasok siya sa lane ng kalaban, ang sagot niya ‘hindi na coach kasi tinodo-todo ko na at nakapikit na ko nang malapit sa finish line.”
Since the athlete’s right arm is stronger than the left, the coach rued that the front wheel of Mangliwan’s wheelchair racer might have entered the Austrian’s lane accidentally in his all-out effort to cross the finish line ahead.
“Baka nga kumaliwa at pumasok sa lane sa lakas ng hataw ng kanang kamay niya (Mangliwan),” said Deriada, who has been keeping close tabs on the athlete, whose participation in the Tokyo Paralympics is backed by the Philippine Sports Commission.
While the athlete was upset and frustrated for being disqualified, the coach said: “Mangliwan is a fighter and got over it right away. He is looking forward to racing on Sunday.”
Also seeing action on Sunday is decorated swimmer Ernie Gawilan, who will vie in the second heat of the men’s 400-meter freestyle-S7 race at 9:07 a.m. (8:07 a.m), with the top eight qualifiers entering the finals at 5 p.m. ( 4 p.m.) in the afternoon.
Swimming coach Tony Ong said that Gawilan was buoyed by his performance last Friday in setting a new PH record in the 400-meter individual medley of 2:50.49, although he missed the cut to the finals, surpassing his previous mark of 2:52 in ruling the event in the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“Honestly, I was happy with his (Gawilan’s) 200 IM time considering the short time of our preparations (for Tokyo) because of the COVID-19 pandemic and ECQ. That was nearly two seconds off his Asian Para Games record. That’s very good,” Ong said.
Gawilan has been dominant in his pet event on the Southeast Asian and Asian levels, winning golds back-to-back in the 2015 Singapore and 2017 Malaysia editions of the ASEAN Para Games.