TOKYO — Wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan and discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda are undaunted by the elite opposition they will be up against in the World Paralympic Games.
“Ang umaaayaw ay hindi mag-wawagi. Kaya hindi tayo umaayaw,” said Mangliwan, who was struck by polio at the age of two.
“Kung titignan natin yong record nila, malakas po sila. Pero malakas din po tayo,” Aceveda added.
The tall and stocky Aceveda, who won three gold medals in the 2013 Asean Para Games in Myanmar, is determined to deliver for the Philippines.
“Salang-sala na po yan sa bansang pinanggalingan nila so battle of the champions na po yan. Eh, hindi po tayo susuko,” said the 50-year-old mother of three who manages three massage therapy clinics in different malls in Marikina.
Mangliwan is the first to see action, with the T52 men’s 400-meter races set on Friday.
The team is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Coach Joel Deriada believes the 2016 Rio Para Games veteran is confident Mangliwan can advance to the finals. Mangliwan is also entered in the men’s 1,500-meter race on Saturday and the 100-meter sprint on Sept. 2.
“Nakita na namin yong record ng kalaban ni coach Joel kaya nakita namin may malaking pag-asa ako makapasok sa event na to,” Mangliwan said. “Yun ang pinaka-goal ko is to make it to the finals po talaga. Kung makuha ko po yung goal ko na yon, all out na po doon.”
“Gusto din po natin makapasok sa finals. At siyempre po, manalo. Ibibigay namin yong best namin,” said Aceveda, who suffered a degenerative disease at the age of three that has left her technically blind in both eyes.
Under the International Paralympic Committee and World Para rules, she will compete blindfolded to block out whatever light that some athletes might still perceive.
The F11 women’s discus throw finals won’t be until Aug. 31 at the Japan National Stadium.
Both athletes said they are quite comfortable at their quarters and gave a thumbs-up for the food served at the two-story Athletes Village dining hall, which is open round-the-clock to serve the over 4,000 athletes and officials from 163 countries taking part in the Tokyo Para Games.
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