MANILA, Philippines – “An inspiration.”
This is how the President of the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC), Michael Barredo, described the table tennis player and bronze medalist of the Rio Paralympics, Josephine Medina, who died at home last Thursday at the age of 51.
“Ate Jo, as Medina was called, is an example of hard work and dedication to their sport that our national para-athletes can follow and look up to for inspiration,” said Barredo from Tokyo, where he was with the country’s delegation to the Paralympics is.
“It made her an exceptional athlete and champion and enabled her to win a bronze medal for the country in Rio,” he added.
Medina broke the country’s 16-year drought at the Paralympics when she won bronze in Rio de Janeiro. It was the Philippines’ first medal at the Paralympics since Adeline Dumapong Ancheta won the first bronze at the Women’s Powerlifting Games in the 2000 Sydney, Australia.
“A hard worker Yang si Josephine, Talagang is addicted to exercise, which is why she excelled at her sport,” said para-athletics coach Joel Deriada, who watched Medina win her bronze medal at Riocentro Pavilion 3 in the Brazilian city.
“Ate Jo trains really hard. It takes us a long time to score, beyond an hour or two of our four hours of regular training,” added coach Michael Dalumpines.
Despite her disability, Medina was good enough to be a member of the women’s national team in 1989, according to Dalumpines, himself a former international.
As a graduate of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Medina was dominant at the Southeast Asian level and won four gold medals at the ASEAN Para Games 2008 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
It also won gold medals in each of the 2014, 2015 and 2017 editions of the meeting, which was held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Medina also took silver at the Asian Para Games in Guangzhou in 2010 and Jakarta in 2018, as well as a bronze medal at the 2014 Incheon edition.