Despite her physical handicap, archer Augustina Bantiloc keeps a steady aim on her targets in life.
The 48-year old member of the national archery team from Baguio City is a mother of three. Though she is confined to a wheelchair because of a leg disability brought by polio, Bantiloc is a seasoned athlete who shifted from powerlifting in 2003, to archery in 2011. It was also in 2011, that she had the privilege of representing the Philippines in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.
“There was no player, I think, that time I won a medal so I was endorsed by PANNA (Philippine Archers’ National Network and Alliance) under coach Rick Torres. They look for me and told me to try playing the sport,” Bantiloc recalled.
“Then, I was able to bring home a silver medal in the 2011 SEA Games.”
PANNA is now the World Archery Philippines, the national sports association for archery.
Bantiloc also won a bronze medal during the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar but was disqualified to compete in the 2015 edition of the meet because of a technical ruling on the type of wheelchair she is using.
“Besides the wheelchair concern, I was not classified in my event that’s why I don’t have any papers to compete,” she added.
Bantiloc was named Most Outstanding International and National Athlete from the Cordillera Region during the Kafagway Sports Awards on February 20, 2016.
Bantiloc is practicing all year-round to comply with the training requirements of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
“I train almost every day with my assistant and coach John Hongitan, taking advantage of the good weather before the rainy season comes,” she said.
To augment her income as a national athlete (she began receiving a monthly stipend from PSC only in January this year), Bantiloc is into handicrafts selling bracelets and keychain that she made.
Bantiloc hopes that people with physical handicap would determine God’s purpose for them.
“To my colleagues, do not think that since we are differently-abled we are now limited with our actions. Get out of your comfort zones and discover the talent, which God has given you. We never know where our God-given talents will bring us but for sure it will uplift our condition and lessen the discrimination toward persons with disabilities,” said Bantiloc.
Bantiloc believes that sport is instrumental in changing her life.
“Sports helped us a lot. Before, we are really being discriminated – that we are useless and helpless. But today, the society is now looking up on us,” she concluded.
Bantiloc is now preparing for an archery competition slated January 2017 that is sponsored by the PSC and the Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled.