Swimmer Gary Bejino, who lost his right arm and left leg when he was just seven years old, has refused to wilt under the weight of his disability and will showcase his unrelenting resolve in four events in the coming Tokyo Paralympics.
The World Para Swimming confirmed on Wednesday that the Asian Para Games silver medalist secured a spot in the Games following the global para swimming federation’s approval of his bipartite application.
Bejino, who took up the sport in 2007 under the guidance of coach Tony Ong, will see action in the men’s 50-meter butterfly S6, 100m breaststroke SB, 200m individual medley SM6 and the 400m freestyle during the Paralympics on Aug. 24 to Sept. 5 at Tokyo Aquatics Center.
“The best para swimmers in the world will be there. I have to prepare myself and compete to the best of my abilities,’’ said Bejino, who placed second in the 200m IM S6 in the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
He likewise captured a pair of bronze medals in the 100m backstroke S6 and 100m freestyle S6 in the continental sports fest that contributed to the para swim team’s seven medals highlighted by Ernie Gawilan’s triple-gold feat.
“We are happy to get great news that para athlete swimmer Gary has earned a slot at the Tokyo Paralympics, bringing the present total of qualifiers to five,’’ said Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo.
Bejino will join Gawilan in his first Paralympics together with Allain Ganapin of taekwondo, Jerrold Mangliwan and Jeanette Aceveda of track and field.
Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic bronze medalist Josephine Medina of table tennis is still awaiting her official confirmation for the Games.
Gawilan recently claimed a bronze medal in the men’s 400m freestyle S7 during the Internationale Deutsche Meisterschaften Berlin 2021 World Para Swimming Series in Germany.
The International Paralympic Committee identified 10 different sport classes for athletes with physical impairment. The lower the number, the more severe the activity limitation. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.