Sipalay para athlete not competing in Tokyo

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The Philippine Paralympic Committee released an official statement Tuesday, Aug 24, announcing that para-powerlifter Achele “Jinky” Guion of Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, will not be able to compete in the Games after testing positive for Covid-19 together with her coach, Antonio ”Tony’’ Taguibao.

“Jinky is deeply frustrated that she will not be able to compete in her powerlifting event for her country after training for so long, and especially getting much inspiration from Hidilyn Diaz, a powerlifter like herself and the first Filipino to win an Olympic medal,’’ PPC president Michael Barredo said.

Para-powerlifter Achele “Jinky” Guion of Sipalay City, Negros Occidental

Other members of the delegation who tested positive for Covid-19 are Chef de Mission Francis Diaz and para-athletics coach Joel Deriada.

Barredo took over as chef de mission in the absence of Diaz to implement tasks involving planning, logistics, and communications, among others, for the team’s orderly navigation in the Paralympics.

“Despite this most unfortunate development, all our para-athletes remain in high spirits and committed to giving their best possible performances to bring honor and glory for our country. Tuloy ang laban. Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino (The fight will continue. Long live Filipino athletes),’’ said Barredo, who will likewise function as the head of the delegation of Team Philippines.

Meanwhile, wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan and discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda are undaunted by the elite opposition they will be up against in their respective events in the World Paralympic Games here.

“He who gives up will not win. So we will not give up,” said Mangliwan, who was struck by polio at the age of 2, said in Filipino.

“We will look at the records of our opponents, they are strong. But we are also strong,” echoed Aceveda of the sentiments of her fellow athlete.

The tall and stocky Aceveda, who won three golds in the 2013 Asean Para Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, was keenly aware of the challenges facing them in their stint fully supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

“They are the best from their countries, so that’s already a battle of the champions. But we will not give up,” said the 50-year-old mother of three who manages three massage therapy clinics in different malls in Marikina.

Mangliwan, who was the Philippine contingent’s standard-bearer during the opening ceremonies at the Japan National Stadium Tuesday night, will be the first to see action between them on Friday in the T52 men’s 400-meter race, with the heats scheduled in the morning and the finals in the evening.

His coach Joel Deriada believes that the 2016 Rio Para Games veteran of reaching the finals of the first of three events if he plays his cards right.

The wheelchair racer’s other events are the men’s 1,500-meter race on Saturday and the 100-meter sprint, beginning with the heats on Sept. 2 and the finals on a succeeding day.

“I also wanted to enter the finals. And of course, to win. We will give our best,” said Aceveda, who suffered a degenerative disease at the age of 3 that has left her technically blind in both eyes.

Compounding the discus thrower’s situation is the fact that under the International Paralympic Committee and World Para rules, she will be performing blindfolded to block out whatever feeble light that some athletes might still perceive as means of equalizing the playing field.

Thankfully, Aceveda will have plenty of time to hone her technique together with coach Bernard Buen since the F11 women’s discus throw finals won’t be until Aug. 31 at the Japan National Stadium. — PR