Thursday, June 24, 2021

Bacolod gymnasts conquer international arena amid pandemic

BACOLOD. Kris Joy Joplo Leeping, Matthea Given Efenio, Bianca Isabelle Celis, and Kiana Marie Alagaban. (MK Gymnastics Photo)

BACOLOD City-hailed gymnasts came out strong to prove that they are among the world's bests despite facing the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic.

Matthea Given Efenio, Bianca Isabelle Celis, and Kiana Marie Alagaban bagged medals in the recently staged International Rhythmic Inter-Club Online 2020 competition hosted by Mexico last October 11-27, 2020.

The Bacolod Tay Tung High School (BTTHS) mainstays Efenio captured the gold medal in the rope category (10-12 years old), while Alagaban won the bronze medal in the ball category (16-and-up division).

Meanwhile, Celis of St. Scholastica's Academy also finished bronze medal in the rope category (13-15 years old).

For coach Kris Joy Leeping, a MAPEH Teacher at Negros Occidental High School, this achievement brings pride and glory, not just to the province of Negros Occidental, but the whole country as well. "This only shows that we can compete in rhythmic gymnastics at the international scene," Leeping said.

When asked how did she prepare and motivate the gymnasts to perform at this level amid the pandemic, Leeping felt grateful to her gymnasts for all the hard work they put in every time they train as part of their preparations in the competition.

"I also commend my club, MK Gymnastics, for providing all the support necessary for our participation in the international event. Amidst this current pandemic, we still found ways and devised strategies on how to train and prepare our gymnasts for the competition, in accordance with the guidelines set by the IATF," added Leeping, who is also a tournament manager of rhythmic gymnastics in Palarong Pambansa, and a technical committee member of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines.

Kiana's mother, Tina, on the other hand, said her daughter will be evaluated for the national team by March or April next year so they need to start preparing for it. "It's Kiana's dream to be part of the national team. So, despite the difficulties this pandemic brings, we still find ways to train and online competitions are good exposures," she said.

"Next month, we will join again in South Africa. This time the competition would be quite tough because our opponents are from different national teams. And, we might not get a medal but it would be a great venue for exposure and training," she added.


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