Gendered disability in elite sport has emerged as a pertinent area of inquiry in sport psychology. However, qualitative research aimed at amplifying the voices of marginalized subgroups is notably sparse. Employing a phenomenological approach, we examined the lived experience of a Filipina para powerlifter, probing the intersection of gender, disability, and socioeconomic status in shaping how the participant made sense of life and identity, both within and outside the realm of sport. Three personal experiential themes were generated from the interview data's interpretative phenomenological analysis: “survival of the fittest,” “the voices in my head did not allow me to give up,” and “I am deeply human with a heart.” Narrating the trials she surpassed from childhood to adulthood as an athlete/person with disability (A/PWD), she realized the environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural conditions that handicap her more than her physical impairment alone. Despite bouts with self-pity and disempowerment, the participant drew strength from internal resilience and external support systems, ultimately achieving recognition as her country's first bemedaled Paralympian. This journey fostered profound compassion for her fellow athletes/persons with disabilities. Notwithstanding the limitations of a single-participant study, this research asserts its significant contribution to the scholarly discourse on cultural sport psychology, particularly concerning women of low socioeconomic status in sport for A/PWD. Upholding that the viewpoints and agency of marginalized individuals are heard and respected confirms their position as active participants in knowledge generation within the discipline.


intersectionality, gender, disability, socioeconomic status, parasport, interpretative phenomenological analysis

Author Bio(s)

Aaron Carl S. Seechung completed his degree in Sports Science from the College of Human Kinetics at the University of the Philippines, Diliman (UPD). Graduating class valedictorian, he was distinguished as the Most Outstanding Student, earning a Special Recognition award for his thesis. Moreover, the Gawad Kinetica Award recognized his active involvement in various university- and college-wide organizations. Aaron's involvement in SUpporting PWDs through Exercise and Recreation (SUPER) underlies his research interest in physical activity and sport for persons with disabilities. Please direct correspondence to asseechung@up.edu.ph

Maria Luisa M. Guinto is an Associate Professor of the College of Human Kinetics at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. As one of the forerunners of sport psychology in the country, she is a founding member of the Association of Sport and Exercise Psychology in the Philippines (ASEPP) and the first Chairperson of the Sport and Exercise Psychology Special Interest Group (SEP-SIG) of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP). She serves as Vice-President for Membership of the Asian South-Pacific Association of Sport Psychology (ASASP), Secretary of the Executive Board of the International Association of P.E. and Sports for Women and Girls (IAPESGW), and Internationalization Relations Officer of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP). Her research interests involve mental health and well-being, women and sport, spirituality, mindfulness, community resilience, and psychosocial interventions in crises and disasters. Please direct correspondence to mmguinto1@up.edu.ph


We acknowledge Adeline Dumapong for sharing her invaluable experience, expertise, and insights, significantly enhancing the quality of our research. Her unique perspective as a female Paralympic athlete provided a profound depth to our study, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and diversity in sport research. We are sincerely grateful for her collaboration and the positive impact on our academic endeavor.

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