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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.”

Linkback: https://tubagbohol.mikeligalig.com/index.php?topic=53142.0

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