Wheelchair racer Jerrold Pete Mangliwan staged a spectacular charge down the final 30
meters, overtaking the leading Japanese racer, Ueyonabaru Hirota, to clinch a come-from-behind victory in the men’s 400-meter T52 finals at the 4th Asian Para Games athletic meet in Hangzhou on Friday, October 27.
Initiating his move at the midway point, Mangliwan, competing in lane 6, entered the homestretch in second place, neck-and-neck with Hirota. He then edged out his Japanese competitor with a personal best time of one minute and .01.54 seconds, as opposed to Hirota’s 1:01.79.
During the event, which was observed by Richard Bachmann, the chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, commissioner Walter Torres, and Mike Barredo, president of the Philippine Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo Paralympian clinched the nation’s fourth gold medal, heralding a historic first in athletics for the Philippines in this continental sports event.
The native of Tabuk, Kalinga also became the country’s third double medalist in this competition. Swimmer Ernie Gawilan and chess player Menandro Redor achieved the same feat earlier, each winning two golds on Thursday. Mangliwan’s success also ensured the country maintained its No. 12 position in the overall medal standings among 44 participating countries on the penultimate day of the 4th Hangzhou Asian Para Games.
Coach Joel Deriada’s advice to Mangliwan was straightforward: “Just give it your all and trust in your endurance. Whatever you showed in the first 100 meters, trust it and it will pay off (Ang sabi ni coach (Joel Deriada) lumabas ka lang ng malakas at magtiwala ka sa endurance mo. Kung ano yung linabas mo sa 100 meters, tiwala ka lang at nagbunga po).” This strategy also earned Mangliwan a silver medal in the men’s 100-meter T52 race three days prior.
“I am truly grateful. My prayer was just to get a medal. What more can I ask for,” Mangliwan said, “not only for myself but for the entire Philippine team. I have joined the Asian Para Games four times, and only now have I medaled like this, so I gave it my all.”
Despite formidable Japanese competitors like Hirota, a bronze medalist in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, and Ito Tatsuya, who secured the men’s 100-meter T52 gold earlier in the week, Mangliwan remained unfazed.
Gawilan expressed hope that Mangliwan’s success would lead to greater recognition for para-athletes, stating, “Hopefully, this will be the beginning of equal recognition for para-athletes alongside their able-bodied counterparts.”
Teammate Arman Dino clocked 55.45 seconds and finished seventh overall in the heats, securing a spot in the finals of the men’s 400-meter T47 event on Saturday.