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PH Para-athlete, officials contract COVID-19 ahead of Tokyo Paralympics

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In what could be a huge blow to the Philippines' bid in the Tokyo Paralympics, the Philippine Paralympic Committee confirmed on Sunday that some members of the national team, including a para-athlete, have tested positive for COVID-19.

"It is unfortunate to announce for us to inform the public that some officials, coaches, and a para-athlete of our Philippine delegation bound for Tokyo to participate in the 2020 Paralympic Games have tested positive for COVID-19. They are currently isolated pursuant to health protocols to contain the virus and to aid them in their recovery," Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo said in a statement.

Barredo did not name the delegates who contracted COVID-19, but a person privy of the situation said that they got the coronavirus here and did not join the trip to Tokyo.

This means the national team to the Tokyo Paralympics will only have five players in it.

Initially listed to the team were wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan, discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda, para swimmers Ernie Gawilan and Gary Bejino, para taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin, and powerlifter Achelle Guion.

"Despite this setback, we are confident that our athletes will give their best in the pursuit of their Paralympic dreams and to bring honor and glory to our country," Barredo further said.

The remainder of the Philippine team is now in Tokyo ahead of the Paralympics, which will begin on Tuesday and will run until Sept. 5.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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