Josephine Medina turned back her Indonesian opponent to win the gold medal in table tennis, closing the Philippines’ campaign in the 9th ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur with a total of 20 golds.
Medina defeated Suwarti 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9 in a sport that the 47-year-old Rio Paralympics bronze medalist has dominated on the Southeast Asian level for 14 years now.
The Philippines totaled 20 gold, 20 silver and 29 bronze medals, good for fifth overall behind runaway champion Indonesia (126-75-50), host Malaysia (90-85-84), Thailand (68-73-94) and Vietnam (40-61-60).
It was a big improvement for the Philippines compared to the 16-17-26 haul in the 2015 Singapore Games.
Athletics, drawing strength from three golds each by teenage sprint phenom Cielo Honasan and wheelchair-bound thrower Cendy Asusano, scooped up 9 gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze medals, four more than their output in Singapore.
Chess, spearheaded by triple-gold medal winner and FIDE Master Sander Severino, fell short of its 7-gold target but still wound up as the country’s second-best performing sport with a 4-3-6 haul.
Swimming, behind Ernie Gawilan’s twin triumphs, had 3 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze medals overall.
Cyclist Arthus Bucay, tenpin bowler Christopher Yue and powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta gave the Philippines a gold each.
Although the team failed to reach its target of 27 gold medals, chef de mission Ral Rosario said its current tally should still be a source of pride.
“We went home with 20 golds, four more than what we took home in Singapore. That’s all that matters,” Rosario said.
The Philippines will host the 10th ASEAN Para Games in 2019.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)