MANILA — There is no stopping powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta from giving honor to the country.
The 43-year-old athlete, who contracted polio at the age of three, has collected her seventh gold medal in the 2017 ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week.
“I am so blessed,” said Dumapong-Ancheta, a native of Kiangan, Ifugao, in an interview on Thursday.
Dumapong-Ancheta, who began powerlifting in 1997, debuted in the 2003 ASEAN Para Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“Winning my first gold medal at the ASEAN Para Games has inspired me to achieve more.I feel proud to give honor to the Philippines,” she said.
After Hanoi, Dumapong-Ancheta won in Manila (2005), Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand (2007), Kuala Lumpur (2009) and Surakarta, Indonesia (2011).
In the 2014 edition held in Myanmar, Dumapong-Ancheta only had a silver but she bounced back to claim the gold in Singapore two years ago.
“I only have the gold medal in mind when I compete. When I lose, I never give up. I work harder to achieve my goal,” said Dumapong-Ancheta, a three-time Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) awardee.
Aside from the ASEAN Para Games, she also competed in the Far East and South Pacific (FESPIC) Games, which was replaced by the Asian Para Games starting with the 1st Asian Para Games in 2010 in Guangzhou, China.
The Asian Para Games is held every four years after every Asian Games.
She won the silver medal in 1999 (Bangkok, Thailand), 2002 (Busan, South Korea), 2010 and 2014 (Incheon, South Korea).
Dumapong-Ancheta became the first Filipino medalist in the 2000 Paralympic Games when she won the bronze medal in Sydney, Australia.
“I did not expect to win a medal in the Paralympics, which is a very high-level competition. But I did my best and I was able to prove that Filipinos can be world-class athletes,” said Dumapong-Ancheta, who also joined the 2004 (Athens, Greece), 2012 (London, Great Britain) and 2016 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Paralympic Games.
Dumapong-Ancheta said she is hoping to join the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Para Powerlifting Championships.
Mexico City was supposed to host the tournament, which was postponed due to a strong earthquake last September 19. The IPC has yet to announce the new schedule of the tournament.
“Hopefully, I can compete this year in the IPC World Championship and other mandatory tournaments to qualify for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan,” said Dumapong-Ancheta, who is not thinking of retiring anytime soon.
“This is not my last Para Games. As long as I am winning, I will stay here in powerlifting,” said Dumapong-Ancheta, a computer science graduate from St. Paul’s College in Quezon City.
When asked about her message to the Filipino people, she said “Maraming salamat sa suporta. Sana, gamit ang sport biglang tool, ang suporta ay ma-i-extend din sa ibang aspecto ng disability issues like education, employment and inclusion.” Jean Malanum/PNA – northboundasia.com