Babanto faces tall order

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

BEING the youngest in the team should be a huge pressure for any regular teen athlete especially when you are competing in the biggest sports meet of Southeast Asia.

But 16-year-old Cebuana Rinna Babanto is not your ordinary competitor. She has faced the best jins in the world and even beat them to the punch for a gold medal in the annual world poomsae championships.

Though feeling a bit of anxiety because she is making her debut in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Babanto’s gold medal performance in the 8th World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) World Taekwondo Poomsae Championship has added fuel the fire for her to once again rise up to the occasion.

“I feel a bit pressured because as a junior I needed to adjust right away. But it did not take too long for me to adjust because I’m used to it in every competition. Yes, it gave me more confidence to grab the medal again. I’m hoping everybody prays for us and give us their support. I have focused and trained hard for our country,” Babanto, a student of Southwestern University (SWU), told Sun.Star Cebu.

Babanto is competing in the team poomsae event of the 27th SEA Games with fellow female jins Rani Ortega and Janice Lagman today at the WunnaTheikdi Stadium in Myanmar.

Babanto was a replacement for fellow world poomsae gold medalist and Cebuana Mikhaela Calamba, who couldn’t join the RP national poomsae squad because of school and family matters.

“I feel grateful that I was given the chance to play and experience to compete in this prestigious event. I have done my best in training to gain the gold medal. I know that each competitor is training hard to get it but I know we worked harder than them,” said Babanto.

Babanto teamed up with Calamba and Manila’s Jocel Ninobla to bring home the gold in the Women’s Under-17 event of the 8th WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championship last month in Bali, Indonesia.

The Philippines is still stuggling in the biennial meet. As of yesterday afternoon, the Philippines was at seventh place with still 12 gold medals. A far cry from leading nation Thailand, which has 60 gold medals.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 18, 2013.


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