THREE-TIME Olympian Marestella Torres-Sunang continues to compete because of her love for country and the trust of supporters as she retains her dominant form in women’s long jump.
“Meron pa ring mga tao na tuloy tuloy ang suporta not just for me but for the whole national track and field team. At saka iyong pagmamahal ko sa laro tuloy tuloy pa rin,” said Marestella in reference to Ayala Corporation which supports the Philippine track and field team and built, through its real estate arm Ayala Land, Inc., the Vermosa Sports Hub as home to the country’s elite track and field athletes.
Marestella, who lives in Bacoor Cavite, shared that with her training now so near her home she no longer has to go through the daily Ortigas traffic just to train. This allows her more time to focus on reaching her peak form as she prepares for the Asian Games. And since the Vermosa oval is the only IAAF certified track in the country, she is now able to accurately monitor her performance and peg her progress based on international standards.
Along with access to a world-class track oval, Ayala also provides the PATAFA athletes a hydration program care of Manila Water Company’s Healthy Family Purified Water, as well as financial support to help improve training and recruitment programs.
The 37-year-old Marestella will go to the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang Indonesia this August 18 to September 2 as one of the country’s best hope for another Asian Games gold medal.
Indonesia’s Maria Natalia Londa won the women’s long jump gold during the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea with a leap of 6.55. Torres-Sunang beats this mark by a wide margin with a leap of 6.72 during the Kazakhstan Open July 2016 which is the national record. The feat assured her participation in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She says her giving birth to a son and motherhood are not a hindrance. Rather she draws motivation from her family and her absence when she gave birth re-ignited her passion for the sport.
“Noong nag stop ako, talagang na-mi-miss ko ang competition. Nag stop ako for one year. Wala talaga akong competition kasi nabuntis ako. So yon na-miss ko ang competition. So talagang naging maganda ang comeback ko dahil talagang nagging eager ako na mag compete ulit,” said Marestella.
If anything, she says she is more motivated and more dedicated than ever before.
“Kung ano ang motivation ko noong dalaga pa ako doble ang motivation ko ngayong may asawa na ako at may anak. Ginagawa ko ito hindi lang para sa akin kundi para sa anak ko. Gusto ko patunayan na kahit nabuntis ako pwede pa rin. Gusto ko ipakita na kahit nabuntis ka kung ang dedication mo nandoon pa rin then kaya mo itong gawin,” said Marestella.
The native of San Jose, Negros Oriental has always had to overcome plenty of doubters and obstacles in her career. She says he has never doubted her ability to succeed.
“Hindi naman naging hadlang sa akin ang mas matatangkad ang mga kalaban ko. Kasi napatunayan ko na noon pa na kaya ko mag compete against mas matangkad,” said Marestella.
The veteran has travelled the world representing the country. She is not fazed by the competition or in performing before an international audience in a world stage. She in fact welcomes the opportunity to compete against the best in the world which she says can only help her improve and be the best that she can be as an athlete.
“Nakita ako sa IAAF pag nagko compete ako pumapasok naman ako among the top sa world. Every time na mag compete ako, ako yung pinakamaliit at nananalo pa rin. Marami humahanga sa akin dahil ang liit ko pero malakas ako. So doon ako nagkaroon ng confidence. Kaya ko pala kahit maliit ako. Walang nagiging hadlang sa akin.”
No doubt the support of Ayala for Patafa’s training and sports development program will be a big help for Marestella as she continues to dominate the local scene in her sport. (PR)