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Josephine Medina, the para table tennis player who won a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, died on Thursday, September 2, the Philippine Table Tennis Federation (PTTF) confirmed.
She was 51.
Her coach Louie Eballa told Rappler that Medina passed away in her home on Thursday, the penultimate day of the country’s campaign in the Tokyo Paralympics.
He added that Medina’s nephew said she was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms since last week, but the family is still waiting for the test results to identify her cause of death.
Medina was the country’s last Paralympic medalist as she ended the 16-year medal drought after Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta’s powerlifting bronze in the 2000 Sydney Games.
The Albay native bagged the bronze in the quadrennial meet’s table tennis women’s singles Class 8 event, emerging as the lone medalist of the campaign. She also served as the flag bearer of the 2016 Rio Games.
Medina is the most bemedalled paddler in the country’s sports history as she won seven gold medals in the ASEAN Para Games.
The Filipina table tennis prodigy was a consistent medalist in the Asian Para Games as she won two silver medals in the 2010 and 2018 continental Games, and a bronze in the 2014 staging in Seoul.
She first qualified for the Paralympics in the 2012 London Games where she reached the bronze-medal match right in her debut, but lost, narrowly missing a podium finish.
Medina was afflicted with polio when she was eight months old, which led to severe limb muscle weakness and leg length discrepancy. – Rappler.com