Ready to move on, table tennis ace Medina has sights on Vietnam next year
Paralympics bronze medalist Josephine Medina felt the same despair her peers had gone through when the Philippine edition of the Asean Para Games (APG), which the country was supposed to host later this year, was scrapped for good.
But as soon as the Asean Para Sports Federation (APSF) shifted its sights toward bringing the biennial meet next year to Vietnam, the country’s top para table tennis bet knew it was time to move on and prepare for more valuable things ahead.
“I’m now looking forward to the Asean Para Games in Vietnam and, at the same time, waiting for the confirmation on my qualification for next year’s Tokyo Paralympics,” said Medina, who placed third in the women’s table tennis competitions of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.
Medina, a seven-time gold medalist in the Asean Para Games, worked doubly hard in playing a series of tournaments last year in Slovenia, Japan, Thailand and Finland that served as qualifiers to the Paralympics from Aug. 24-Sept. 5, 2021.The International Table Tennis Federation will make the announcement on who will go to the Paralympics next year.
“I’m hoping and praying to qualify. I continue to self-train at home amid the [coronavirus] pandemic by using improvised materials. It’s important that you have a feel of the ball,” said Medina, who brought home a silver medal from the 2018 Jakarta Asian Para Games.
“I honestly felt sad [that the Asean Para Games got canceled], especially for the new athletes who missed the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of our countrymen,” Medina added.
APSF president Maj. Gen. Osoth Bhavilai announced that efforts are now directed to ensure the early preparation and smooth organization of the 11th Asean Para Games tentatively scheduled in December 2021 in Hanoi.
The APSF Board of Governors, chaired by Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo, convened in an emergency video conference meeting during the weekend officially endorsing the cancellation of the 10th Asean Para Games in the Philippines.
“We look forward to moving ahead hand in hand with all member countries, bouncing back stronger and further solidifying the region’s Paralympic movement as we gear ourselves with new challenges in Vietnam 2021,” Bhavilai said.
The Philippine Asean Para Games Organizing Committee, which facilitated the preparations for two years, called off the Games due to the global coronavirus disease health crisis.
“We have our unstoppable spirit. Let us continue to train our minds and bodies during this pandemic. Let us not lose sight of our goals, keep the faith and plow forward,” Barredo said.“We waited for 15 years to be the host but it was canceled. I guess we need to move on and accept reality. The APG will always be there, the safety and health of everybody are the top priorities now,” Medina said.
Over 2,000 para athletes from the 10 member countries have registered to participate in the Games that were supposed to feature 20 sports in New Clark City and Subic. INQ
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