Decorated judoka retires

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

FAILING to capture any medal in the just-concluded 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar was a bitter end for Ruth A. Dugaduga's decorated career as a national judo athlete. Even a bronze would have sufficed Ruth's farewell gift for Filipinos as she retires in the New Year.

"Magre-retire na ako. I'm done. Super sakit sa loob kasi di ko nakuha kahit iyong bronze na akala ko akin na. Ilang seconds nalang sana iyon bakit ganun talaga," Ruth said in a Facebook chat interview with Sun.Star Davao yesterday.

The 32-year-old Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC) Mass Communication graduate, who joined the national team since 2004, said she will continue to work in Manila as an enlisted personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard.

Ruth, a 2005 SEA Games silver medalist, said that life has been different since she joined the national team.

"Be humble even when you have reached the top. Just keep the faith," she shared the life lessons she learned as a national athlete.

She learned to speak fluent Filipino and budget her finances during her nine-year stint in the team.

Ruth, who was born to father Reuel, deceased, and mother Ella, a retired government employee, learned the sport only when she was 18, a sophomore college student.

"We had judo during our P.E. subject and a close friend of mind encouraged me to pursue the sport," she said.

The five-foot-two heavyweight said she fell in love with the sport then eventually decided to engage in competitive judo so she joined the varsity team. She managed her time for both training and academics.

In her first competition, Ruth annexed a gold medal in a Davao Judo Tournament then settled for bronzes in the Mindanao Friendship Games in Mati, Davao Oriental in 2001 and in a national competition held in Manila three years later.

She captured a gold medal in the 2005 National Judo Championships just a few months of being in the national team where she learned to live a more disciplined life.

The consistent national games champion said, I'm up mostly by 6 a.m. doing my daily house chores then I train during evenings."
She said being a national athlete was a fulfilling career as she gets to be physically and mentally fit.

"I'd still choose to be an athlete if given the chance to live another life again. I would try to make it into the Olympics," she added.

When asked about her greatest achievement, she replied, "I have competed in the SEA Games, Asian Championships and World Championships. I may have lost a lot of times and won a few but I've learned many things."

She thanked God and her family for giving her inspiration in all her undertakings.

As she closes a chapter in her life, may she continue to soar and make a difference in the lives around her.

To Ruth, thank you for your love for the country and the sacrifices you made to make us all proud. We salute you, Dabawenya!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 29, 2013.


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