Eyes on Rio: Gawilan gears up for Paralympics qualifying

DAVAO City's 2014 Asian Para Games triple bronze medalist tanker Ernie Gawilan gears up for a four-month training in preparation for the 2016 Rio Paralympics qualifying set in May 2015.

Gawilan bared this in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao yesterday morning.

Gawilan, who paid a courtesy call to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte before the opening rites of the Duterte Basketball League (DBL) Inter-Political District Basketball Championships at the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center last Friday, said that he will leave for Manila on Jan. 26 to resume his training at the Philippine Sports Complex (former Ultra) in Pasig City.

Mayor Duterte will shoulder his plane ticket to Manila and will also give Gawilan allowance.

Gawilan thanked Duterte for the financial assistance, saying: " meanwhile, shared that he is very thankful for the financial support given by Mayor Duterte, adding:"Dako gyud tabang tung gihatag ni Mayor kay makapalit ko ug food supplements (I will by vitamins from the allowance that Mayor will give me)."

The 23-year-old tanker from Sasa, Davao City said he'll compete in men's 400m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke events.

Gawilan said that he is optimistic about his chances in the qualifying stage, adding:"Paningkamutan gyud nako ni mao excited nako mubalik sa training nako para pag abot sa May kay ready nako. Twice a day ko magtraining pagbalik didto. Focused gyud kayo ko sa 400m freestyle kay tan-aw nako dira gyud ko naay dako na chance (I want to do my best in the qualifying that's why I'm really excited to be back in training. I'll train twice a day. I'm focused in 400m freestyle)."

His best time in 400m freestyle is four minutes and 55 seconds but the qualifying time for the Rio Paralympics is 4:49.29.

"I'm comfortable with the 400m freestyle event `coz I'm more familiar with it," Gawilan said in the vernacular.

For the duration of his training, Gawilan will be accompanied by coaches Antonio Ong, Ral Del Rosario and Jude Corpuz.

Gawilan, however, bared that the venue for the 2015 Rio qualifying has yet to be determined.

The possible venues include USA, Europe and Scotland in United Kingdom.
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