Filipina para powerlifter Achelle “Jinky” Guion was supposed to compete in her second Paralympic Games in Tokyo, however, her journey was cut short after she tested positive for COVID-19.

/ 27 August 2021

The 49-year-old Paralympian was among the three powerlifters who represented the country in the 2012 Summer Games in London along with Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta and Agustin Kitan.

Guion competed in the women’s 44-kilogram event where she finished in sixth place among eight competitors by lifting 70 kilograms.

The Manila-born athlete secured her ticket to Tokyo through a bi-partite invitation which made her the 10th entrant in the women’s -45 kg event and the sixth Filipino para-athlete to participate in the Summer Games.

Unfortunately, Guion will be out of the Para Games after the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) announced in a statement Tuesday that she was COVID-19 positive. 

Guion’s coach Antonio Taguibao and two more members of the Philippine delegation in Chef de Mission Francis Diaz and Para Athletics coach Joel Derlada also yielded positive results.

The missed opportunity for Guion was heartbreaking news for the country’s Tokyo Paralympic team and fellow para-athletes, especially to Dumapong-Ancheta, the first Filipina to win a Paralympic medal ever when she won bronze at the 2000 Summer Paralympics.

Ang sakit,” shared Dumapong-Ancheta in a recent Spin Sidelines appearance. 

Nung na-test siya, nagkausap kami at wala akong magawa kundi makinig sa kanya, to let her cry and let it all out,” she added.

Guion and the Philippine delegation had high hopes for her in the Tokyo Games, all the more after she brought home the silver medal in the women’s -45 kg event in the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta.

Alam ko kung gaano yung sinakripisyo niya. Nag-leave siya ng work niya to concentrate on her trainings tapos biglang yun lang,” said Dumapong-Ancheta, who was Guion’s fellow delegate in the 2012 Para Games in London.

Nung nangyari yun, talagang hagulgol kami. I didn’t know how to comfort her. It’s not her fault, but what can we do? Asymptomatic sila and they were very confident na wala silang nararamdaman. Nakakagulat talaga at miski ako naiiyak para sa kanya.”

The women’s -45 kg powerlifting event was held on Thursday, with Nigeria’s Latifat Tijani carrying 107 kg securing the gold medal.

China’s Cui Zhe took home the silver medal, while Poland’s Justyna Kozdryk got the bronze.

Dumapong-Ancheta gave her teammate words of encouragement after the situation as the Philippine powerlifting team will now focus on the 2022 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou and hopefully, the 2024 Paris Paralympics.

Sabi ko sa kanya, iiyak mo lang. Don’t worry, marami pang competitions. Siguro it’s not meant to be. That will help us move on,” she said.