HANGZHOU – Wheelchair racer Jerrold Pete Mangliwan came charging down the last 30 meters, slipping past erstwhile Japanese frontrunner Ueyonabaru Hirota to complete a thrilling come-from-behind win in the men’s 400-meter T52 finals of the 4th Asian Para Games athletic meet here Friday, Oct. 27.
After making his move at the halfway mark, Mangliwan, racing in lane 6, was running second entering the homestretch and was neck-and-neck with Hirota before nosing out his Japanese foe in a personal best time of one minute and .01.54 seconds to the latter’s 1:01.79.
In a race witnessed by Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard Bachmann, commissioner Walter Torres and Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo , the Tokyo Paralympian delivered the country’s fourth gold medal here, and its first in athletics in the continental sportsfest.
The Tabuk, Kalinga native also became the country’s third double medalist in this competition backed by the PSC after swimmer Ernie Gawilan and chess player Menandro Redor, who won two golds on Thursday, respectively, Mangliwan’s success also enabled the country to remain at No. 12 in the overall medal standings among 44 countries seeing action on the penultimate day of the 4th Hangzhou Asian Para Games in this beautiful port city.
“Ang sabi ni coach (Joel Deriada) lumabas ka lang ng malakas at magtiwala ka sa endurance mo. Kung ano yung linabas mo sa 100 meters, tiwala ka lang at nagbunga po,” said an elated Mangliwan of the winning strategy that also gave him the silver medal in the men’s 100-meter T52 race three days ago.
“Talagang nagpapasalamat ako, ang prayer ko lang sa Lord makakuha ng medal. Ano pa ba ang hihilingin ko pa,” said the athlete, “at hindi lang para sa akin ngunit para sa buong Philippine team.
“Four times ako nag- Asian Para Games ngayon lang ako nag-medal ng ganito dito kaya binuhos ko na ang lahat.”
He said that he was undaunted by his formidable Japanese foes in Hirota, a bronze medalist in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, and Ito Tatsuya, who won the men’s 100-meter T52 gold last Tuesday and took the bronze (1:04.96).
Gawilan was hopeful that because of his success here, “this will be the start that para athletes will be just equally recognized as their able-bodied counterparts. Sana ito na yung umpisa na ang pagtingin ng pantay-pantay sa lahat ng sektor.”
Teammate Arman Dino clocked 55.45 seconds and finished seventh overall in the heats to advance to the finals of the men’s 400-meter T47 finals Saturday.
After a fruitful outing in the standard event, Filipino para chessers resumed their medal hunt and were in the thick of the fight for gold in three categories of the rapid event – both the men’s and women’s PI (Physically Impaired) and B2-B3 Men’s divisions, respectively.
Veteran Henry Roger Lopez, a silver medalist in the men’s individual standard, shared top spot after four rounds with 3.5 points each with Iran’s Aski after both fought to a fighting draw in the fourth round of the men’s PI class.
Jasper Rom was in solo second spot with three points in the category after defeating Mongolia’s Sundui Sonom while Darry Bernardo, who bagged six gold in the Cambodia ASEAN Para Games, was a close second in the men’s B2-B3 class with 3.5 points after beating Gangolli Kishan.
Teammate Menandro Redor, who anchored a team and individual sweep of the standard event, was running a strong third with three points with a key win over Iranian Rashat Abadi Hamzeh Mosleh with two rounds to go.
Shrugging off a lackluster outing in the previous event, Chery Angot led the way and remained unbeaten in the women’s PI division with four points after four rounds in vanquishing Indonesia’s Nasip Firta Simanja.
Atty. Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza beat Vietnam’s Doan Thu Huyen and was tied for second with three points, with the top two players of each squad determining the outcome of the team event.
Filipino para cyclists continued their struggle with Arthus clocking 1:46..28 to finish fifth in the men’s C4-C5 road race at the CSC Cycling Road course.
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