ERNIE Gawilan felt intense pride and was greatly inspired after fellow Pinoy Paralympian Josephine Medina won a bronze medal in table tennis at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
“Inangat din niya kami lahat sa panalo niya,” an ecstatic Gawilan told SPIN.ph.
“Naging inspirasyon sya sa amin,” he added of Ate Jo, as Medina’s teammates call her.
Gawilan, a Paralympic swimmer from Davao, said Medina’s triumph was a much-needed boost to the morale of the pocket five-man Philippine delegation.
“Salamat lapay kaayo ko sir kang ate Josephine kay bisag lisod jud kuhaon ang medal pero nakuha gihapon niya apil napud mi sa iyang kadaogan kay apil nami niya gi-angat sa pag taas sa flag nato (We are very thankful for Ate Josephine who overcame the odds to get a medal. We are very much a part of her victory because she also lifted us up as she flew our flag here),” Gawilan, who did not advance past the heats in his two events in swimming, said.
Medina easily got past Germany’s Juliane Wolfe, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7, on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) to claim the bronze medal in table tennis women’s singles Class 8 in this quadrennial showpiece for athletes with disabilities.
It was the first ever medal for the country in the Paralympics since 2000 in Sydney when Adeline Dumapong also claimed bronze in powerlifting.
Gawilan said although his first stint in the Paralympics has been fruitless so far, he was thankful for the support given to parathletes.
“Una sa tanan sir no magpasalamat ko sa Ginoo na naa gihapon mi nadala ug nahimong successful among pag anhi sa Rio mag pasalamat ko sa PSC sa suporta nila sa delegation sa para athletes na nagdula sa Paralympic ug sa mga tao na nag salig sa amo ug suporta (First of all, I thank God who brought us all here in Rio and I thank the PSC for the support to the delegation and for the people who kept their faith in us),” Gawilan said.
The 25-year old parathlete, who was born with underdeveloped extremities and orphaned at a young age, said he will go home to Davao upon their return for a short break before resuming training in November for next year’s Southeast Asian Para Games in Malaysia.
With the prospects of the country’s hosting of the SEA Games and Para Games in 2017, Gawilan said he hopes that the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to make Davao as the main venue will push through.
“Nindot unta para mapromote sad ang Davao (It would be nice so that Davao will also be promoted as a destination),” he added.