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Bejino makes final try in Tokyo

Philippine Paralympian Gary Bejino

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Philippine Paralympian Gary Bejino

Philippine Paralympian Gary Bejino. Photo courtesy of Philippine Sports Commission

Gary Bejino came to the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics as a neophyte still feeling his way amid the sea of greatness in the showpiece event featuring the finest differently-abled athletes in the world.

The 25-year-old swimmer was a little bit jittery in his opening race—in the men’s 200-meter individual medley SM6 last week—but got his bearings going afterward by clocking a personal best in the 50m butterfly.

Fresh off a two-day respite, Bejino will enter the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Thursday more at ease in the 400m freestyle S6 at 8 a.m. in Manila time as he goes for no less than a finals appearance in the afternoon.

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“I just have to make an all-out effort in my last two events and hope for the best,’’ said Bejino, who will cap his first Paralympic campaign in the men’s 100m backstroke on Friday.

The gold medalist in the 2018 Asian Para Games touched the wall with a personal record of 36.14 seconds in the 50m fly. He missed the finals though, after checking in 15th overall from 16 entries in the qualifying heats.

Bejino, a double bronze performer in the 2018 Asian Para Games, has an amputated right arm and left leg after he was severely electrocuted at the age of seven.

“I think Gary is more relaxed now after getting his personal best in the 50m butterfly last Monday. Hopefully, he will also swim with a good time in the 400m freestyle tomorrow (Thursday),’’ said para swimming coach Tony Ong.

Wheelchair sprinter Jerrold Mangliwan, meanwhile, advanced directly to the men’s 100m T52 finals on after all nine participants were seeded directly into the medal race slated on Friday at National Stadium track oval.

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