FILIPINO paralympian Jerrold Pete Mangliwan is turning 44 years old in October. While age is reason for other athletes to stop competing, Mangliwan is not even considering retirement.
The country's top wheelchair racer said that as long as he can still compete, he will continue representing the country in international para games.
Mangliwan, who's been competing for 15 years in his sport, said that he is at the point of his career where he is at his optimal level of fitness.
“I'm 43 and I'm one of the veterans of the team. Until there's an opportunity, I will compete. I'm at a point where I'm really enjoying my time as an athlete. I will compete as long as I can and I think I'm still good, fitness-wise,” Mangliwan told The Manila Times in Filipino.
Mangliwan does not need to look that far when it comes to inspiration while competing at an advanced age. After all, his competitor at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics, Hirokazu Ueyonabaru of Japan, was already 50 when he won the bronze medal in the men's 400m T52 event.
“One of my competitors in the Tokyo Paralympics in Japan. The Japanese who won a bronze medal, he was 50 then. So I'm not saying that he's old but I'm a lot younger than him. As long as my fitness level is at an optimum state, I'll keep on competing,” said Mangliwan, a two-time Paralympian.
Mangliwan, who has collected six Asean Para Games gold medals including two in the recently-concluded meet in Cambodia, said he will consider retirement once he wins a medal in the Asian Para Games.
“My dream is to win a medal in the Asian Games and if I did win in the Asian Games, maybe that's the time that I'd consider thinking about retirement. But that's the goal I need to achieve, to medal in the Asian Games. I haven't won a medal in the Asian Games yet,” said Mangliwan.
“I'm just 43. Maybe I'll give it a try until I'm 48 or close to 50.”
But right now, the Tabuk, Kalinga native said he still has a lot left in the tank.
At the Cambodia Games, Mangliwan clocked 1:01.93 in the 400-meter (m) event to win the gold. He won his other gold in the 200m event with a time of 32.99 seconds.
“I'm very satisfied with the result of my events. I didn't just win a gold in the 400 m, but I think that's one of my personal bests, if not my personal best, which is recorded. Last time, my personal best was 1:02 now it's 1:01. My previous best was around 2020 but now I got faster,” he said.
Determined to go faster and win more medals, Mangliwan said he looks forward to competing in the Asian Para Games this October, the World Para Athletics Championships this July, and the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports World Games in Thailand this December.
“I'm really looking forward to competing in the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou this October. We were told to just keep on training because we might participate in the World Para Athletics in Paris, France. We're looking at three competitions, World Para Athletics this July, Asian Games in October, and then the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports World Games in Thailand in December,” he said.
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