No coach for self-funding Paralympics star in world championships
Paralympics bronze medalist Josephine Medina has been without a coach while preparing for this year’s World Para Table Tennis Championships in Slovenia—a tournament she qualified for by spending her own money.
“I paid for all of my qualifying tournaments just to compete in the world championships,” said the 47-year-old table tennis star, who is ranked seventh in the world.
Now, the Philippine Sports Commission will not let the national treasure spend a dime more.
“Josephine can visit me at the office anytime and submit a formal report on her foreign exposure and expenses,” said PSC chair Butch Ramirez. “The PSC will be happy to accommodate her.”
Medina, who has poliomyelitis that affects the length of her legs, pocketed the gold in a tournament in Thailand right after taking home the bronze in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro.
She followed it up with another singles gold medal in a meet held in Las Vegas also in 2016 and earned a silver and bronze during the Taichung Open in Taiwan in July 2017, allowing her to book a slot in the Slovenia worlds on Oct. 15.
According to Medina, she paid her way through these tournaments without financial help from the country’s national paralympic federation, the Philippine Sports Association of the Differently Abled, which reportedly told her there was no budget for the qualifiers.
“I trained on my own but I’m thankful that I qualified. It’s another chance to give honor to our country,” said Medina, one of eight platinum athletes identified by the Philippine Sports Commission who will receive all-out support from the government.
With the Asian Para Games in Indonesia barely six months away, she’s no longer confident in signing up a coach that could train and monitor her on a daily basis.
To keep her in competitive form, Medina took the initiative of playing regularly with the able-bodied men’s team of top UAAP schools UST, UE and NU and Emilio Aguinaldo College.
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