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PH Paralympians in high spirits despite losing Guion due to COVID-19

Photo c/o Philippine Paralympic Committee

By Gab Ferreras, contributing writer

Action at the pandemic-delayed kick off Tokyo Paralympics earlier tonight. At the opening ceremonies at the Japan National Stadium, the Philippine delegation became the 115th country to arrive in the Parade of Nations with para wheelchair racer Jerrold Pete Mangliwan taking over the flag bearer duties.

PH Paralympic Team remains optimistic in their chances to snatch the best showing in the history of their participation, despite losing veteran powerlifter Achelle Guion to the Tokyo-bound group after she tested positive with COVID-19.

On the same day of the opening ceremony, Philippine Paralympic Committee confirms that Guion, Coaches Tony Taguibiao and Joel Deriada and Chef-de-Mission Francis "Kiko" Diaz were all tested positive from the COVID-19 virus and did not join the country's delegation in their flight going to Tokyo last Sunday.

Guion, who was supposed to compete in the Women's -45 kg category of Para Powerlifting on Thursday, is asymptomatic and currently recovering as of posting time.

"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 gold medal," PPC President Michael Barredo said.

With this unfortunate development, the country's medal hopefuls to the Tokyo Paralympics are now down to only 5 para-athletes, namely Mangliwan, Jeanette Aceveda, Ernie Gawilan, Gary Bejino and Allain Ganapin. All 4 mentioned are already in Tokyo, while Ganapin will depart on August 29.

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