Josephine de la Vina
This week we will look at the Philippines Women’s Discus record. I want 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’.
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 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.
Mighty Cebu! The Power House CIT Team
Becoming part of the CIT (Cebu Institute of Technology) where promising athletes were properly developed.
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 high school, and recognized her ability in the throws.
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.‘As she became known due to her height, Big Jo grew to an intimidating 6’0, exceeding tall for a Filipina, especially in those days.
“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.”
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)
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.
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 game’s 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 and can measure confidence?
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 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.
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.
|1||54.71m||Josephine de la Vina||15.4.46||Bakersfield, USA||10.7.1971|
|2||45.26m||Dorie Cortejo||23.3.58||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||23.8.1989|
|3||44.97m||Reah Joy Sumalpong||Weekly Relays||Pasig||6-Aug-17|
|6||40.25m||Maika De Oro||9.12.1994||Palarong Pambansa||Dapitan||13.5.2011|
|9||38.73m||Cerah Moren||CCC Center Meet #2||Atwater||4/12/2017|
|10||38.59m||Aira Teodosio||97||National Open||Santa Cruz||.03.15|
*Current All-Time List of countries 10 Best Discus Throwers. and may revise the date if sufficient evidence is provided to update. (updated)
Acknowledgment and Revision Notes
I want to thank Mr. Benjamin Silva Netto of the PATAFA and Mr. Hubbeling of the Asian Athletics Association.
Their help provides 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 that sports reference.com reported Ms. Josephine de la Vina.
It’s a sad thing that no newspapers or anybody really picked up on this.
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
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]
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