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11 Filipino student athletes off to London summer school–and the Olympics
By: Annelle S. Tayao; Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, June 15th, 2012
For 11 young Filipino athletes, the opportunity to study in the United Kingdom is nothing short of a dream come true—especially since they will also be there to witness this year’s biggest sporting event.

Boxer Roberto Miguel Jalnaiz, triathlete Gabrielle Allen Santiago, taekwondo jin Irene Therese Bermejo, swimmer Ariana Caraos Herranz, judoka Floyd Derek Rillera, badminton players Joella Geva de Vera and John Edgard Reyes, thrower Garry Santiago, runner Mary Anthony Diesto, archer Bianca Cristina Gotuaco, and weightlifter John Kyle Macrohon are the first batch of Filipino student athletes who will be sent to participate in St. Bede’s School’s Summer School, Upper Dicker, Sussex.
Aside from their study program, these athletes will also get to watch the London 2012 Olympics. They leave for the UK on July 28.

All are gold medal winners in both regional and national competitions at the 2011 Batang Pinoy national championship in Naga City. Batang Pinoy is the national sports competition for children ages 15 years old and below. Its categories include arnis, archery, athletics (running, shot put, discus throw, javelin, jumps), basketball, badminton, chess, boxing, judo, taekwondo, gymnastics, swimming, triathlon, table tennis, weightlifting, wrestling.

Under a full scholarship provided by the British Council Philippines and British Embassy Manila [in cooperation with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and MVP Sports Foundation], the 11 athletes will be enrolled in the Dicker Center, where they will undergo a full study program consisting of Language Activities (arts, design, cooking, communications); sports and club activities; excursions to historical and educational sites (British Museum, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, The Tower of London, Natural History Museum, Westminster Abbey).

“The novelty of the [summer school] program is the combination of sports and education,” says Albert Almendralejo, PSC head of marketing and PR. “It’s also the first time for St. Bede’s to host Filipino students.”

Of course, the highlight of their two-week stay is watching the London 2012 Olympics live.
“We could be the ones [playing] there someday,” says 16-year-old weightlifter John Kyle Macrohon. They are also excited about seeing the country of “Harry Potter,” boy band One Direction—and hearing their classmates’ English accents.

With ages ranging from 14-16, these athletes became involved in sports very early in their lives with the fierce support of their families.

Swimmer Ariana Herranz, 15, for one, started lessons when she was only 2 years old. Runner Mary Anthony Diesto, 14, was encouraged by her father to try track and field because she would be seen running around her school’s quadrangle during break time.

Roberto Miguel Jalnaiz, 14, who has been boxing for three years, also found inspiration from his father, and could follow in his footsteps. His dad is the former national boxer and two-time Olympian Roberto Jalnaiz Jr.

As athletes of their respective schools, these students usually reserve after-class hours for training.
“Our varsity team spends three hours after class for training every day,” says badminton player Joella Geva de Vera, 14. “But if we have exams or projects, we do them first.”

While “studies first” is the general sentiment of these student athletes, all are in it for the long haul when it comes to sports.

“You always have to have a goal so you don’t get tired of your sport,” says De Vera. “When you achieve one goal, plan another.”

“It’s just like soccer—there’s no point in playing if you don’t have a goal,” added Macrohon, who says he “used to be fat and wasn’t winning any medal” when he first began weightlifting. Last year, aside from winning gold in the Batang Pinoy national finals, he also bagged one gold and one silver medal in the National 5-in-1 Weightlifting Championship.

Fifteen-year-old triathlete Gabrielle Allen Santiago, who won the Alaska IronKids Triathlon in 2010, shares this piece of advice with other aspiring young athletes: “It’s how you handle negativity that will show if you really are a champion.”

Boxing and Boxers / 2-Time Olympian from Jagna, Bohol
« on: July 29, 2012, 11:35:30 PM »
Jalnaiz kids personify future of RP boxing
By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star Updated February 05, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - Two-time Olympian Roberto Jalnaiz’s sons Rafael, 11, and Roberto Miguel, 12, bagged gold medals to signify the emergence of a new generation of elite fighters at the recent Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) National Youth Open Championships in Puerto Princesa.

The Jalnaiz kids won four bouts in a row to sweep their assignments, raising high hopes for a bright future in Philippine boxing.

Rafael claimed the 30-kilogram vacuumweight title while Roberto Miguel took the 32-kilogram antweight crown, both in the kids 11-12 age group. They were untouchable in the five-day competition that drew 222 simonpures from all over the country.

Both Jalnaiz boys got off to a scorching start with Rafael outpointing hometowner Kent Jasper Fuentes, 11-5, and Roberto Miguel decisioning Jeffrey Stella of Mandaue, 13-3. Rafael went on to upset Mindanao leg champion Robert Paradero of Bukidnon, 9-6, and eventually halted Rhezon Tarona of Mandaue in the finals.

Jalnaiz, 43, introduced his sons to boxing when they were barely eight. He never encouraged them to take up the sport but it was clearly in their blood.

“When they were younger, they used to fight all the time so I decided to bring them to the gym and teach them the proper way,” said Jalnaiz, the country’s only gold medalist at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games. “I started with the basics. I taught them footwork, defense, combinations and delivery. The kids have a lot of heart. They like boxing. Rafael wants to be a pro. Roberto wants to be an Olympian. I’ll teach them everything I know.”

Jalnaiz said his long years of experience as an amateur boxer will help the kids grow up to be champions in the mold of Cuban and Russian fighters.

“I fought in two Olympics and I saw how the Cubans and Russians move – that’s how I want my kids to fight, like the Cubans and the Russians,” said Jalnaiz, a 1991 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist. “Right now, I’m very impressed with their development. They’re better than I was at their age. They know their distance, they slip and counter. They’re constantly training. They’re very disciplined. They do push-ups to improve their power. They shadow-box and do mitts like they’re in the national team. I want them to be scientific boxers. I make sure they’re always in top condition and I look after what they eat – vegetables, beef, fruits and occasionally, Jollibee hamburgers.”

Jalnaiz said while he will support his sons’ boxing ambitions, it won’t mean lowering education as a priority.

“I finished only up to second year high school,” said Jalnaiz. “Roberto Miguel is in Grade 6 and Rafael, in Grade 5. I want them to finish college before they turn pro, if ever. My wife Mary Joy finished at the Ateneo de Cagayan and I want the boys to earn a degree like their mother.”

Jalnaiz’s wife also has boxing roots. Her father Nick Galarte was former Oriental champion Jess Maca’s first manager and used to own a stable of ranked fighters. She was in Puerto Princesa cheering her sons to victory at ringside.

Even as Jalnaiz is immersed in training his sons, he and his wife always make time for their oldest child, 18-year-old daughter Asian Marie.

Jalnaiz said he trains over 30 amateur fighters, whose ages range from nine to 17, at the Pelaez Sports Center in Cagayan de Oro. His boxing program is supported by Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno.

“Twice a month, we hold what we call the ‘Rumble at the Capitol,’ something like ‘Boxing at the Park’,” said Jalnaiz. “It’s Gov. Moreno’s grassroots project to discover young, promising fighters.”

Since retiring from amateur boxing in 1992, Jalnaiz has been involved in training fighters, many of whom became internationalists and pros including Violito Payla, Roel Laguna, Genebert Basadre, Jason Pagara and Milan Melindo. Through the years, Jalnaiz said he has trained over 300 fighters.

Note: Roberto "Bob" Jalnaiz hails from Pagina, Jagna, Bohol but is presently residing in Cagayan de Oro City

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