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Bejino, Mangliwan down to last cards; jin Ganapin COVID-positive

Bejino, Mangliwan down to last cards; jin Ganapin COVID-positive

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Athletes dive into action during the men’s 400-meter freestyle swimming final at Tokyo Olympics Center. The Philippines’ bet to the event, Gary Bejino, finished sixth in the qualifying heats. —REUTERS

Gary Bejino didn’t like the way his swim turned out in the men’s 400-meter freestyle S6 heats in the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics early Thursday morning.

And just like any other setback, the 25-year-old para swimmer has been raring to redeem himself in the next race—the 100m backstroke slated on Friday, his swan song as a greenhorn in these Games.

“He was not happy with his performance and will go hard and try to improve in the 100m backstroke tomorrow,’’ said coach Tony Ong.

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Bejino, the two-time Asian Para Games gold medalist in the event, checked in sixth in his heat with a time of five minutes and 52.28 seconds, an effort that missed the afternoon medal race.

Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic bronze medalist Talisson Glock of Brazil led the eight finalists after the qualifying heats with a clocking of 5:06.28.

“Gary didn’t make it to the finals, but his time improved compared to his time of 6:10 in Berlin,’’ said Ong, referring to Bejino’s stint in the Internationale Deutsche Meisterschaften Berlin 2021 World Para Swimming Series in Germany last June.

Bejino is entered in the second heat of the 100m back in lane No. 2 scheduled at 8:23 a.m. Manila time with the eight best competitors in the qualifying heats advancing to the afternoon finale.

Meanwhile, Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo announced yesterday that para taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin will have to skip his competition in the men’s K44 -75 kilogram category on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19.

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“We are deeply saddened to announce that our para taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin, the first Filipino para athlete to secure a slot for para taekwondo in the Tokyo Paralympics, tested positive for COVID-19,’’ said Barredo in a statement.

Powerlifter Achele Guion likewise wasn’t allowed to leave Manila last week after yielding an affirmative test result while discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda tested positive and missed her event on Tuesday after undergoing the mandatory daily saliva antigen at Tokyo Paralympic Village.

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will provide help to those who tested positive, including ironing out their return to the country and subsequent quarantine of those who were infected in Tokyo.

“We are closely monitoring them,” said PSC chair Butch Ramirez, who added that most likely they will be transferred to their own local government units. —With A report from Marc Anthony Reyes

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