Written by HeatherS on 29th January 2024
Some children have a terrible start to life, but those who overcome their difficulties can really inspire others. This is just the case for Ernie Gawilan, the Philippines’ first ever gold medalist at the Asian Para Games.
The impressive young athlete survived an abortion attempt, however as a result, he was left missing both of his lower legs and with an underdeveloped left arm.
To make matters worse, his father abandoned the family, and his mother died when he was a baby. Thankfully, his grandfather stepped up to care for him, and at nine years of age, the youngster was sent to Our Lady of Victory Training Center for people with disabilities. During his teenage years his talent for swimming was discovered. He says “When I am in the water my physical disability was not visible … I look like a normal person.”
From his first swimming competition, Ernie has competed in many international competitions, and is now in full training for the Paris Paralympic Games in 2024. He says, “I’m working harder every day to push the limits of what’s possible – both on the field and in my community”