Paddler Josephine Medina cops bronze in 2016 Paralympics
Josephine Medina secured the bronze medal in the women’s individual table tennis – Class 8 at the 2016 Rio Paralympics in Brazil on Monday (Tuesday Manila time).
The 46-year-old swept Germany’s Juliane Wolf, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 to finish at third place.
Medina, who was also the country’s flagbearer for the Games, bested her fourth place finish in the 2012 London Paralympics.
“I have been praying to God that one day, the Philippines would win a medal. The last time in London, I came so close I finished in fourth place,” she told the ITTF website. “Here, the competition is really tough, but when I beat Aida Dahlen and qualified for the main draw, for God nothing is impossible.”
She posted a 1-1 record in the group stages, losing to eventual gold medalist Mao Jingdian of China, 3-11, 2-11, 6-11, before punching her ticket to the semifinals with a come-from-behind victory over Norway’s Aida Husic Dahlen, 11-5, 3-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-8.
Medina would then bow to eventual silver medalist Thu Kamkasomphou of France in the semifinals, 5-11, 8-11, 9-11, before securing the podium finish against Wolf.
Still, it was an emotional victory for Medina, who dedicated the triumph to her late father, who previously played for the national team and coached Royal Saudi Air Force before passing away in 2004.
“My father was in the national team. I was sick as I was a polio victim and table tennis is my therapy. I used to compete with able-bodied athletes and qualified for the national team, but they told me you cannot be in the national team for the able-bodied as you are disabled,” she said in the interview. “The rejection has become my inspiration and I train hard and I just want to prove that disability is not a hindrance in achieving your goal. It’s just an instrument in reaching success in your life.”
“I dedicate this to my father. I didn’t have the chance to tell my papa that I was playing internationally. It is quite sad, but I know he believed in me. I know he is still near me.”
Athletes in table tennis – Class 8 are suffering from physical impairments in their arms or legs.
Medina became only the second Filipino to cop a medal in the Paralympic Games, following the footsteps of powerlifter Adeline Dumapong’s bronze medal finish in the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games.
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