The 27-year-old para swimmer from Davao bagged two medals in the opening day of the Asian Para Games

By Klyde Manansala | Photo from Erwin Gawilas’ Facebook

The country bagged its first ever gold medal in the Asian Para Games as para swimmer Erwin Gawilan reigned in the 2018 continental games Sunday at Gelora Bung Karno Aquatic Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 27-year-old finished with 2:52.43 in the men’s 200-meter individual medley SM7 to secure the gold, followed by Chen Liang Da of Chinese Taipei (2:55.90) and Jadhav Suyash Narayan of India (2:56.51).

The Davaoeño who was born with no legs and an incomplete arm also clinched the silver medal in the men’s 50-meter freestyle S7 after clocking in at 31.93 seconds, just a few seconds behind gold medalist Wei Soong Toh of Singapore (29.01s) while Narayan snagged his second bronze of the competition (32.16).

The Philippines will take home three more medals as a couple of Filipinos finished on the podium in other categories. Gawilan’s teammate Gary Bejino finished with a bronze in the 100-meter backstroke while Achelle Guion nabbed the silver medal in 45kg powerlifting. Another bronze was bagged by Arthus Bucay in the Para Cycling Men’s Trial.

Out of 43 participating countries, the Philippines is in eight place with five medals in total. Other Filipinos who are projected to win gold are veteran powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta and Joseph Medina who shines in table tennis.