FILIPINO-Japanese Mariya Takahashi, who clinched a gold medal in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, resumed her serious training in Japan for the upcoming World Junior Judo Championships in Croatia.
The 16-year-old senior high school student of Shukugawa Gakuin Hyogo, in a Facebook interview through her Filipino mom, said, "After SEA Games, I'm going to start hard training for the World Juniors in October."
Mariya barely spent two days with her parents Tomoki, a Japanese, and Lynlyn, a native of Mapawa in Maragusan, Compostela Valley Province, when she returned to Japan on August 29 from her golden SEA Games debut.
Lynlyn said her child had to return to her dorm and catch up with her classes.
"Di man mi magkita kaayo ni Mariya kay sa ka busy niya sa training walay pahulay. Dili na siya naga-uli kay layo kaayo iyang school mura ug gikan Tagum og Gensan kalayo, mao nga tagduha ka buwan mi di magkita usahay kay mahal kaayo ang pamasahe (We don't really get to see each other as she is too busy in her training, she barely gets to rest. She could not come home as often because her school is so far like going to General Santos City from Tagum City. At times we don't see each other for two months because the fares are costly)," Lynlyn said.
She recalled how her husband got homesick when Mariya started staying at the school dorm, taking him a few months to adjust due to the separation with their only child. Mariya then thought of quitting but Lynlyn told her to resist the thought as they've been spending so much for her board and lodging.
"Ingon ko pagtarong intawon Mariya para tabangan ko nimo inig mahuman ka. Hihihi (I told her please be serious Mariya so you can help me when you graduate. Hahaha)," Lynlyn said.
Mariya, meanwhile, said that she would also want to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. "If I have a chance, I will try my best," the younger Takahashi said, adding that she would pursue her judo career for flag and country with the help of the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Judo Federation president David Carter.
She started playing judo at age eight in Japan through the encouragement of her father who also used to play judo but stopped due to injuries.
Though she has forgotten how to speak Visayan, Mariya said she misses Filipino food like afritada, beef steak, bihon, bopis and kare-kare.
"Pag tournament niya kay beef steak pirmi iyang request," Lynlyn shared.
Mariya, who studied Grades 1 and 2 in Panabo City before they joined her father in Japan, also misses Jollibee, fruits and the swimming pool.