|Allain Ganapin was hit by COVID-19 ahead of his supposed event on Friday.|
MANILA--Allain Ganapin, the Philippines' supposed first bet for the Paralympic taekwondo event, has been pulled out of the competition after testing positive for COVID-19.
Ganapin, who was supposed to play on Friday in the men's 54-75 kilogram event, was scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday.
However, Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo confirmed on Thursday that Ganapin contracted COVID-19 while at home.
"We are deeply saddened to announce that our para-taekwondo jin Allain Ganapin, the first Filipino para-athlete to secure a slot for para-taekwondo in the Tokyo Paralympics, tested positive for COVID-19. Consequently, he would not be able to leave for Japan due to quarantine restrictions," Barredo said.
He added, "Allain is upset in missing this opportunity but prays that this challenge will strengthen in resolve in his later competitions."
Ganapin became the third Filipino para-athlete who has tested positive for COVID-19, joining para-powerlifter Jinky Guion and para-discus thrower Jeanette Aceveda at the sidelines.
Guion, like Ganapin, tested positive for COVID-19 here, while Aceveda got her positive result during the mandatory testing for the athletes in Tokyo.
"The present pandemic has created so many obstacles for our para-athletes. The virus has been unforgiving and denied them the chance to bring glory and honor to the Philippines," Barredo rued.
This leaves para-swimmer Gary Bejino and wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan as the only Filipinos in action for Friday as the national team wraps up its Tokyo Paralympic campaign in hopes of still winning a medal.
Bejino will compete in the men's 100-meter backstroke S6 preliminary heats at 8:23 a.m., while Mangliwan will gun for a medal in the final of the men's 100-meter T52 wheelchair race at 11 a.m. (both in Philippine Time).
"[The pandemic] will not affect their strong resolve and will continue to push forward in the pursuit of their dreams. Tuloy ang laban! Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino!" Barredo vowed in conclusion.
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