(Photo from Ox Lapida Jr.'s Facebook page and Luigi Mendoza Lauron-Marco)

Both elementary and secondary athletes from Puerto Princesa City brought back 20 medals from the Mimaropa Regional Athletic Association (MRAA) Meet 2024 held at Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, last May 25–28, with eight medals in total won by the elementary category and 12 by the secondary athletes.

Three golds were won by Joaquin “Wacky” Julian Marco and Moira Athena Tidalgo for the mix poomsae elementary category, with Jerald Buriol bagging the gold for the individual category.

All three also achieved silver medals, with Wacky, Jerald, and Xian King Simbulan for the team poomsae category. Moira, along with Kimberly Pama and Jean Faye Mabanglo, also won silver in the same category. Xian King won silver for individual poomsae.

Another silver medal was given to Elvreign Mondragon and Maree Guilia Ysabelle Somera’s kyurogi, while Minelle Siose won bronze for her individual kyurogi.

The secondary team won a total of five gold, three silver, and four bronze medals.

Wacky, a Grade 4 student, said that in taekwondo, like any sport, one can only get better by constantly practicing.

“Magsipag lang po tayo sa pagti-training. Pag natalo po, wag hihinto. Magsikap lang tayo magtraining para maabot natin yung goal natin as a taekwondo player,” Wacky said.

Joechelle Ivy Franco, who coached the elementary girls’ taekwondo team, credited the medals to the athletes’s own hard work and strict training.

“All year round po ang training nila with their private trainers, then months before MRAA ay nag-start na kami ng rigid training. Lahat sila ay may previous experiences na sa paglalaro at nagcocompete din sila local and national competition ng Philippine Taekwondo Association,” she noted.

Franco said that the athletes did not worry about their upcoming graduation date, choosing instead to focus on their preparations, as most of them were honorees in school and had maintained their grades.

Franco also noted that the students were excited, promising to work harder for the upcoming Palarong Pambansa 2024, scheduled for July 11–15 in Cebu City.