Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times

2020 Tokyo Olympics

PPC prexy saddened as COVID-19 hit Team PH hard


TOKYO – As a veteran of six straight Paralympics, including the Tokyo edition here, Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo noted that each participant of Filipino para-athletes in the sports fest posed unique challenges and problems.

But the trials and tests that the PH campaigners faced in their build-up to and taking part in the Tokyo Paralympic Games have been the toughest of them all, according to Barredo, who, although wont to make excuses, blamed the COVID-19 pandemic as the culprit for their ordeal. From the training, qualifying for, and up to the point they actually had to compete in Tokyo, the virus has hounded the national para-athletes at virtually every turn, he pointed out.

“While our able-bodied national athletes had problems of their own in finding facilities to train for the Tokyo Olympics, it came doubly hard for our national para-athletes,” rued Barredo. “We needed not only accessible training venues but also accessible accommodations for them.

“We practically had no training in 2020 due to the pandemic because our national para-athletes were forced to leave the Philsports Complex in Pasig City where they trained and had their quarters because it was converted into a quarantine facility. We understand this reality. It is what it is.”

So he was grateful that the Philippine Sports Commission was able to support and sustain them in looking for separate training bubbles for all six Paralympic-bound athletes for a month or two to do actual workouts before they were scheduled to leave for the Japanese capital.

#ReadMore  ASEAN Para Games: Swimmer Otom emerges as first PH triple gold medalist

“In fairness, we have nothing to say but thank the PSC chairman Butch Ramirez for the all-out support they have given our athletes including their separate bubble training before leaving for Tokyo,” Barredo stressed.

He thought that they had left their troubles behind in Manila when key members of the PH Paralympic contingent were grounded because they tested positive for the virus before leaving for Tokyo. Among them were powerlifter Achelle Guion, her coach, Antonio Taguibao, and PH squad chef de mission Francisco “Kiko” Diaz.

But misfortune dogged the contingent to Tokyo when discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda and athletic coach Bernard Buen were infected after undergoing tests, depriving her of the chance of becoming the first visually impaired Filipino athlete to compete in the meet for the world’s top para-athletes.

“I really felt sorry for her because this is a disability we share,” Barredo bared. “It would have been an inspiration to visually-impaired Filipinos that despite all of the challenges it could be done to compete in the Paralympics. It would have been bragging rights for her for being the first.”

The PPC chief disclosed that although the athlete was upset for a while baring, “Jeanette has gotten over the issue and vowed to do her best to make it back to the 2024 Paris Paralympics.

“Her plight, in a nutshell, is what the entire team has suffered. Naging problema sa atin yong participation because of COVID-19. It’s a very frustrating and upsetting situation that is out of our control.”

He was proud of what swimmers Ernie Gawilan, Gary Bejino, and wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan had achieved so far despite the adversities in Tokyo.

#ReadMore  Jinky Guion to serve as PH flag-bearer for ASEAN Para Games

“Ernie was able to improve his personal bests in his events despite the limited training while Jerrold, except for his disqualification in the men’s 400-meter finals, has also been able to improve a lot, particularly in the 1,500-meter race,” Barredo noted of the two Rio Paralympic veterans.

“Gary is a bit raw this being his first Paralympics. But given more rigorous training and exposure, we expect him to do better in international competition and, hopefully, qualify for the Paris Paralympic Games in 2024.”

Written By


You May Also Like

4th Asian Para Games

Wheelchair racer Jerrold Pete Mangliwan came charging down the last 30 meters, slipping past the erstwhile Japanese frontrunner Ueyonabaru Hirota to complete a thrilling...

4th Asian Para Games

Veteran para swimmer Ernie Gawilan achieved the coveted golden breakthrough for Team Philippines last Tuesday night, retaining the men’s 400-meter freestyle S7 crown in...

12th ASEAN Para Games

Team Pilipinas dominated the chess competition on Thursday in the 12th ASEAN Para Games at the Royal University, showcasing a historic performance by the...

12th ASEAN Para Games

The Philippines rode on Angel Otom’s brilliance as it unleashed a nine-gold juggernaut on Wednesday, hiking its total to 27 gold medals in the...

12th ASEAN Para Games

Team Pilipinas secured three additional gold medals, two of which were obtained in swimming, during the 12th ASEAN Para Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia...

12th ASEAN Para Games

A battle-scarred swimming duo, a tested thrower, and a glory-seeking powerlifter put on a magnificent show to fuel the Philippines’ early gold rush in...

2021 SEA Games

The prolific Filipino swimmers sustained their winning drive Friday by adding three more golds, with rookie Ariel Joseph Alegarbes completing a sweep of his...

2021 SEA Games

Angel Otom bagged two more gold medals, including one in record-breaking time, to emerge as the country’s first triple gold medalist as the Philippine...

Advertisement