VETERAN swimmer Ernie Gawilan tries to break the golden ice for the country as the Fourth Hangzhou Asian Para Games goes full blast on Monday at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Complex and surrounding venues in Hangzhou.
Gawilan, 32, will plunge into action in the S7 men’s 200-meter individual medley at the modern 6,000-seat HOC Aquatic Arena at 7:29 p.m., just a stone’s throw from the 80,000-capacity HOC Stadium where the colorful and festive opening ceremony was held last Sunday night.
It will be the first of three events he will aim to defend after capturing three golds in the 2018 edition held in Jakarta, Indonesia in the stint backed by the Philippine Sports Commission.
“I need to defend the three main events that I won in Jakarta [2018 Asian Games,” said Gawilan, referring to his gold medals in the 400-meter freestyle, 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke.
Also seeing action in the swimming championships are Cambodia ASEAN Para Games double gold medalist Gary Bejino in the S6 men’s 100-meter freestyle, Edwin Villanueva in the SM8 men’s 200-meter individual medley and Muhaimin Ulag in the SB9 men’s 100-meter breaststroke.
The vaunted national para chess team, which delivered five gold, two silver and six bronze medals in the 2018 Asian Para Games, will also start competing in the men’s and women’s standard events at the Hangzhou Qi-Yuan Chess Hall on the fringe of the HOC Complex.
They are bannered by wheelchair-bound Fide Master Sander Severino, who bagged four golds in the Indonesian capital five years ago, and Darry Bernardo, who was the most prolific chess player in the last Cambodia ASEAN Para Games with six mints in June.
Powerlifting also gets underway at the Xiaoshan Sports Center Gymnasium with Romeo Tayawa and Marydol Pamatian vying in the men’s -54-kilogram and women’s -41kg divisions, respectively.
Thrower Jesebel Tordecilla, who won a silver in the Cambodia ASEAN Para Games, kicks off the country’s drive in track and field in F56 women’s javelin throw at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium about an hour away from the HOC Sports Complex.
“Our national para athletes have been working and training hard for the 4th Asian Para Games for the last five years. Now is the time for them to shine in this continental sports showcase once again and I encourage our countrymen to pray and support them,” Philippine Paralympic Committee President Mike Barredo said.