Swimming hero Ernie Gawilan, a veteran of the 2016 Rio Olympics and the country’s best bet in the Asean Para Games, expressed support to the decision Asean Para Sports Federation to move the country’s hosting of the 10th edition of the event to October 3-9.
In an exclusive interview, the 28-year-old Gawilan, who was chosen as one of the torch bearers in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, welcomed the move of the APSF chaired by the Mike Barredo, president of the Philippine Paralympic Committee.
‘’It will be for the good of everybody,’’ said Gawilan, who has already met the qualifying standards for the 400 meter freestyle S6 event in Tokyo 2020.
Gawilan, who became the country’s first gold medal winner in the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, said he is presently undergoing self quarantine at his residence in Samal Island where he arrived March 14.
A native of Paquibato in Davao City, Gawilan was able to but a piece of land in Samal and presently staying at house in Barangay San Isidro, Babak.
Self quarantine doesn’t mean that the many-time awardee of the Philippine Sportswriters Association is infected with COVID-19 but is designed to restrict one’s movement especially that he came from the National Capital Region.
To keep in shape, Gawilan, who is set to compete in his 6th Asean Para Games, said he is doing weight training, push ups and other exercises at home. ‘’At the moment no swim for me.’
Earlier, Barredo said that after a video conference, the ASPF board of governors agreed to reset the country’s hosting of the 10th Asean Para Games. Eight of the 10 member-countries took part in the emergency meeting. Representatives from Myanmar and Brunei did not participate due to technical difficulties.
While expressing his gratitude to the Philippine Sports Commission under Butch Ramirez for its all-out support, Gawilan urged his fellow para athletes to stay healthy.
‘’ We are in a crisis right now. Let’s stay healthy and I also would like to pray for the safety and health of chairman Butch and all the commissioners and everbody, including members of the media and those in the frontlines fighting the disease.’’
He said being picked as one of the Tokyo 2020 torchbearers is not just his honor but to the whole country, though he admits that at present everything is ‘’ floating status’’ due to the global pandemic.
‘’I’m more determined than ever to see action in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. I’m not losing hope and I know things will be better,’’ Gawilan said.
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