TOKYO – Wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan was disqualified in the T52 men’s 400-meter finals in a heartbreaking performance in the Tokyo Paralympic Games athletics meet at the Japan National Stadium here Friday night.
It was a disappointing finale for Mangliwan, who was poised to set a national record of one minute and .80 seconds in placing fifth in the race won by Japanese Tomoki Sato in 55.39 seconds, upsetting defending American champion Martin Raymond of the US (55.99), who was relegated to the silver medal.
The Filipino bet crossed the lane of one of his rivals, resulting in his disqualification together with Isaiah Rigo of the US, who also committed the same blunder, explained national para athletic coach Joel Deriada from Manila shortly after the race.
“He (Mangliwan) crossed an inner lane of his rivals, and this caused Jerrold’s disqualification,” said Deriada.
Had his clocking stood, Mangliwan would have broken his record of 1:02.17 set last May at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland in the outing supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
The Tabuk, Kalinga native will seek redemption on Saturday when he sees action in the heats of the men’s 1,500-meter race at 9:45 p.m. (8:45 p.m. in Manila), with the finals set the following day.
Mangliwan earlier scrambled to the finals in placing seventh among the top eight qualifiers in the heats with a time of 1:03.41 in the first heat topped by Martin, who is of Filipino-Irish descent and a triple gold medalist in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, in 57.70 seconds.
The 2015 Singapore ASEAN Para Games double gold medalist had earlier dedicated his race to coach Deriada, who was grounded in the Philippines after testing positive for the virus before the national team left for the Japanese capital.
“Actually, Mangliwan’s fastest time is 1:00.97 when he got the silver medal in the Singapore ASEAN Para Games. But it was not recognized because the meet was not sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee,” Deriada recalled.
Earlier, swimmer Ernie Gawilan missed the finals of the SM7 men’s 200-meter individual medley in placing ninth overall in the heats with a personal best time of 2:50.49 at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre. The top eight swimmers advanced to the finals in the afternoon.
Swimming coach Tony Ong noted that Gawilan’s clocking was faster than the 2:52 he set in winning the gold medal in the same event during the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo, together with IPC president Andrew Parsons, awarded the medals last Thursday in the men’s -49-kilogram division of powerlifting at the Tokyo International Forum.(PR)