Paralympics: Gawilan, Bejino miss out on swimming finals

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2021 09:56 AM | Updated as of Aug 30 2021 03:17 PM

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(UPDATED) Para swimmers Ernie Gawilan and Gary Bejino will not advance to the finals of their respective events, after falling short in the heats on Monday morning at the Tokyo Aquatics Center.

Gawilan, in what was his third and last event of the Tokyo Paralympics, finished 10th among 11 swimmers in the men's 100-meter backstroke-S7.

Only the top eight athletes will progress to the final later Monday.

Gawilan placed sixth and last in his heat, with a time of 1:21.60. He was 12.48 seconds behind Argentina's Pipo Carlomagno, who won the head with a personal best time of 1:09.12.

"Medyo nahirapan si Ernie sa 400-meter freestyle yesterday," said swimming coach Tony Ong. "He was three seconds off his personal best in the backstroke."

Meanwhile, Bejino also didn't make the cut in the men's 50-meter butterfly-S6.

He finished 14th among 16 para swimmers, with a time of 36.14 seconds. Bejino placed seventh in his heat, 4.48 seconds behind Colombia's Nelson Crispin Corzo who topped the heat with a time of 31.66 seconds. 

"I believe that Gary’s time of 36.14 seconds is his personal best if I am not mistaken. Nagbago kami ng stroke because of the new rule in the butterfly event. He still got a very good time," said Ong.

While Gawilan has already concluded his Paralympics campaign, the 25-year-old Bejino is still scheduled to compete in the men's 400-meter freestyle-S6 on Thursday, September 2, and the men's 100-meter backstroke-S6 on Friday, September 3.

Ong is confident that the Filipino para swimmers could have performed better in Tokyo, if not for the limited preparation time they got due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"Our kids (Gawilan and Bejino) are very talented," Ong assured. "I just hope we can have a longer training period for next year's Asian Para Games."

The Para Games are scheduled for Oct. 9 to 15, 2022 in Hangzhou, China.