MANILA – Para swimmer Ernie Gawilan earned his first attempt for a Tokyo Paralympic medal after making the final of the men's 400-meter freestyle S7 event on Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.
Gawilan finished fourth in Heat 2 of the qualifying rounds, clocking in at 4 minutes and 58.58 seconds.
Overall, he was sixth out of nine participants, well within the Top 8 cutoff.
This means two Filipinos will have a chance to land a medal on Sunday as wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan returns to action in the 1500-meter race.
Gawilan will be the first to go as the 400-meter freestyle final is set at 4 p.m. (Philippine Time).
Mangliwan's event is scheduled for a 7:42 p.m. (Philippine Time) start.
Meanwhile, Mark Malyar headlines the qualified finalists for the 400-meter freestyle event after setting a new Paralympic record in the preliminaries.
The Israeli para swimmer, who like Gawilan raced in Heat 2, topped the heat at 4:41.82, breaking the old record set by Great Britain's Josef Craig in London in 2012.
Malyar has a chance to break his own Paralympic record and even his own world record of 4:33.64 set in 2019 also in London in the medal race.
Also qualifying for the final are Italy's Federico Bicelli, Argentina's Inaki Basiloff, Ukraine's Andril Trusov, USA's Evan Austin, Singapore's Toh Wei Soong, and Chinese Taipei's Chen Liang-Da.