Josephine Dela Vina
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Josephine de la Vina

Josephine de la Vina

Born Apr 20, 1946, New Lucena, Iloilo Philippines, Died Nov 4 2011, Jaro,
Iloilo, Philippines.
This is a revision of an article I wrote for Pinoymiler on March 8, 2012, titled ‘Filipino Junior Records in Chaos and Collision: The Philippines Greatest Female Thrower and the oldest JuniorRecord. More revisions as some info were incorrect.

This week we will look at the Philippines Women’s Discus record. I would like to welcome all the story behind the countries greatest ever female athlete in Track and Field as she is inducted into Pinoyathletics ‘Legends of Track and Field’.

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Fil-Heritage Origins

Born in New Lucena, Iloilo on April 20, 1946. The eldest child of American-Mexican Norman and Carolina de la Vina of Cebu.

Josephine de la Vina would go on to set a legacy in Philippine Athletics that has not been matched. She got her earliest contact with sports playing first base for the softball team of Labangon at Cebu Elementary school.

Dela Vina as a 14-year-old throwing the Discus 98 Feet 3 1/4 inches (30.09m). She represented her school in Softball and throwing events back then.

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Mighty Cebu! The Power House CIT Team

Becoming part of the CIT (Cebu Institute of Technology) where promising athletes were properly developed. It must be noted in the 50s and 60s Cebu was a powerhouse center for developing athletes under the guidance of Frictosa Soriano who developed the strongest women’s team in the country which also had developed Inocencia Solis.

Playing Softball in Elementary it was towards the end of high school her ability in the throws was recognized.

Her ability at school meets where she excelled in throwing events caught the eye of Deans Amancio Alcordo and Vicente Tigas who put her on a scholarship.‘Big Jo’ as she became known due to her height grew to an intimidating 6’0 was exceeding tall for a Filipina especially in those days.

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Jo recalled

“Every time I’d win in an international meet, tears would fill my eyes when the Philippine tri-color was hoisted and the band played the National Anthem. Although my father is Mexican I believe I should remain a Filipino. I am proud to be one.”

josephine de la vina

De la Vina the countries greatest ever female thrower at the height of her powers in the 1960s and 1970s.

Judging on the age of some first sea game participants. Lydia was 15 and Elma 14 when they debuted for the Philippines in relays. It wouldn’t be out of the question to think De la Vina might have competed in the SEA Games in 1961 in Rangoon then known as the SEA Peninsula Games.

(It has been noted that the Philippines was not a part of the SEA Peninsula Games so Dela Vina did not participate in this meet)

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Photo Credit: http://www.filipiknow.net
Dela Vina as a Junior

The National Junior Record in Discus

While only 16 years of age de la Vina competed at her first-ever Asian Track and Field Championships in Tokyo in 1962. And winning the bronze in 37.79m which was then a Senior and national junior record. Yet it was two years later at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics de la Vina then aged 18 would throw 42.27m further improving these marks.

She improved even further in the 1965 National Open in Manila she threw even further a 48.38m which for 52 years still is the Philippine National Junior Record.

“We verified from our 1965 National Open Championships results in Manila that Josephine de la Vina indeed threw 158’9″ (48.38meters, fraction of centimeters)” from Benjamin Silva Netto  then Sec Gen PATAFA reply email.

de-la-vina-asian-champs

The Countries Greatest Female Thrower

Also, she returned knowing she must do better at the next Asian Games in 1966 and was the countries flag bearer. (Asian Games held every four years). While De la Vina set a new Games record in the qualifying round of 47.40. She further improved the record in the final. Her throw of “156’1 1/2 inches” or 47.58m secured her the gold medal in the final. This was a new Asian Games record despite not being her best throw.

She also threw ’41’4 1/2′ or 12.61m to place fourth in the Women’s Shot-put. Josephine Dela Vina a pretty 6ft civil engineering student collected a gold medal for the Philippines in a games record throw (Strait Times). She cracked the record of 45.90m (150ft 7 1/4 inches) set by K. Murase of Japan at the last Asian Games.

In fact, a meeting of Asian Track and Field statisticians named her the ‘most confident athlete of the Asian Games’ (Strait Times). I’m not sure how confidence can be measured?

Shotput Also

Dela Vina also held the Women’s Shotput Record from 1970 to 1975 with a throw of 13.89m in Los Angeles. This stood until it was broken by Consuela Salibis-Lacusong who still holds the record today at 13.92m.

Dela Vina would go on to represent the country in three Olympic games in 1964, 1968, 1972.

Her throws of 42.27, 46.58 and 53.92 landed her 18th, 15th and 14th in the Olympic Games Discus

She also set an untouched record in the Discus at 54.71m at Bakersfield, the USA on 10/7/1971. Remarkably De la Vina shares the unique feat of being Asian Games champion 1966 (47.58m), Asian Track, and Field Champion 1973 (50.74m) shared only with Lydia De Vega-Mercado.

De la Vina mark of 1973 ‘166’5 3/4′ (50.74m) in Manila was a new Asian Record-breaking the 1970 Record established at the Asian Games by Taruko Yagashita. 

dela vina
Iranian High Jumper Teymour Ghiasi and Josephine de la Viña 1974

De La Vina even carried on in the 1970 and 1974 Asian Games but was never able to medal again after her title in 1966. 

A very forgotten but important figure in the History of Filipino Track and Field. De La Vina peacefully passed away in 2011 in Jaro, Iloilo. No newspaper article remember who she was. A true champion of a bygone era.

Discus Throw All-Time List.

Discus Throw
154.71mJosephine de la Vina15.4.46Bakersfield, USA10.7.1971
245.26mDorie Cortejo23.3.58Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia23.8.1989
344.97mReah Joy SumalpongWeekly RelaysPasig6-Aug-17
443.09mRoselyn Hamero2.7.1979Manila5.5.2000
541.78mConsuela Lacusong19.1.195431.5.75
640.25mMaika De Oro9.12.1994Palarong PambansaDapitan13.5.2011
739.34mCarla Yson81Penang9.7.1997
839.31mMaria AbingDumaguete16.4.1970
938.73mCerah MorenCCC Center Meet #2Atwater4/12/2017
1038.59mAira Teodosio97National OpenSanta Cruz.03.15

*Current All-Time List of countries 10 Best ever Discus Throwers. The date may be revised if sufficient evidence provided to update. (updated)

Acknowledgment and Revision Notes

I would like to personally thank Mr. Benjamin Silva Netto of the PATAFA and Mr.  Hubbeling of the Asian Athletics Association. Their help in providing source material for the Revision of the Philippine National, Junior National and UAAP Records.

Thanks to Mr. Jad Adrian Washif for helping secure a copy of a rare book by the late Track and Field Historian Mr. Anthony Buchannan on the advice of Mr. Ignacio Dee.

It is important to note now that Ms. Josephine de la Vina was reported by sports reference.com to have passed away. It’s a sad thing that no newspapers or anybody really picked up on this. As besides De Vega, de la Vina was the only other Filipino Track and Field athlete to win gold in both the Asian Games and Asian Championships. She came from a bygone era before the Gintong Aloy days which can be argued as the greatest time period for the Filipino Track and Field athlete.

Also Found this Data on Dela Vina

Source: 

http://www.filipiknow.net/legendary-filipino-athletes-in-sports-history/

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By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here https://www.pinoyathletics.info/coaching-2/

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