KUALA LUMPUR — Paralympian Josephine Medina topped the women’s singles SF6-8 category on Saturday in the final day of the 9th ASEAN Para Games table tennis competition.
The 46-year-old Medina, who captured the bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, defeated Indonesian Suwarti, 3-1 (12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9), in their final match at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) Hall 7.
The Philippines also bagged the bronze courtesy of Darwin Salvacion, who lost to Thailand’s Wittaya Wichaiwattana, 0-3 (5-11, 8-11, 5-11) in the men’s singles SM3 semifinal round.
Medina’s triumph gave the Philippines a total of 20 gold medals in the tournament hosted by Malaysia for the third time.
The Philippines, represented by 111 athletes, also got 20 silvers and 29 bronzes to finish fifth behind Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Indonesia topped the medal board with 126 golds, 75 silvers and 50 bronzes. Most of the golds came from athletics (40) and swimming (39).
Malaysia was second with 90 golds medals, including 36 in athletics and 22 in cycling, to go with 85 silvers and 83 bronzes.
Thailand finished third with 68 golds medals, 26 coming from athletics, 73 silvers and 95 bronzes, while Vietnam placed fourth with 40 golds (17 in athletics and 15 in swimming), 61 silvers and 60 bronzes.
The three-member cycling team coached by multi-medalist Norberto Oconer was the most productive in the Philippine delegation, winning one gold, four silvers and one bronze.
Cendy Asusano and Ma. Cielo Honasan, on the other hand, were the most bemedalled athletes with three golds each.
Chef de mission Gerardo Rosario has expressed his satisfaction on the performance of the athletes after surpassing the 16 gold medals won by the 65-member Philippine team in the 2015 Singapore Games. The Filipinos also had 17 silver and 26 bronzes.
“We’re proud of the athletes for doing their best despite the strong challenge from their rivals,” said Rosario, the winningest swimmer during his time.
Rosario said the Philippine Paralympics Committee (PPC) will strengthen its nationwide program to tap more talents from the countryside to boost the medal campaign in the 2019 ASEAN Para Games.
“Since we are hosting the next ASEAN Para Games, we have the advantage of fielding more athletes to win more medals,” Rosario added.
Meanwhile, PPC President Michael Barredo will receive the ASEAN Para Games flag from his counterpart as the next host during the closing ceremony scheduled Saturday night at the National Stadium, KL Sports City, in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia.(PNA)