Kalinga boxing prodigy eyes glory

Kalinga boxing prodigy eyes glory
TOP BOXER. Lester Bang-as, the 17-year-old gold medalist in the Flyweight category at the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association Meet 2024. Contributed

The recently concluded Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (Caraa) meet puts Baguio City in the top spot, closely followed by Apayao and Benguet.

Among the rising stars of the regional meet was Lester Bang-as, a 17-year-old boxing prodigy from Kalinga Province.

Lester’s boxing journey has been remarkable, boasting achievements such as a gold medal in the flyweight category at the provincial meet and another gold at Caraa.

Shortly after securing a ticket to the Palaro, Lester clinched three gold medals in other tournaments: “Fight Kalinga Season 1” Amateur Boxing Tournament (Bantamweight), “Reign of Mingor” Amateur Boxing Tournament (Bantamweight), and “Bangad Sport Combat Showdown” (Bantamweight), showcasing his talent and determination in the ring.

Guiding Lester on his path to glory is his dedicated coach, Geofrey Dalwidao, whose mentorship has played a pivotal role in shaping the young boxer’s career.

In a recent interview, Lester expressed his deep passion for boxing, emphasizing that it is more than just a hobby for him; it is a personal interest that brings him immense joy and fulfillment.

Boxing has not only helped him manage stress and cultivate self-discipline but has also boosted his self-esteem and confidence.

Balancing school responsibilities, rigorous training routines, and household tasks was quite challenging for the young athlete.

Lester faced a significant hurdle when he had to train without the guidance of a professional coach, opting to practice with his friends before the provincial competition.

This lack of expert direction resulted in various difficulties for Lester, including weight loss due to the intense training regimen.

Also, his focus on individual training sessions had a noticeable impact on his social life, as he devoted most of his time to improving his boxing skills in isolation, potentially affecting his relationships and social interactions.

Preparations are now underway for Lester’s next challenge as he gears up to compete in the upcoming Palarong Pambansa, scheduled from July 6 to 16, 2024, in Cebu.

Representing the Cordillera Administrative Region, Lester will be vying for top honors in the Youth Boys (Flyweight) 48-51 kilograms in the secondary school category, alongside other talented boxers.

Lester’s story mirrors the challenges and triumphs faced by many young Filipino athletes, serving as a beacon of inspiration for those striving for success.

As the Palarong Pambansa draws near, tales like Lester’s will motivate and inspire others to pursue their athletic dreams with determination and resilience.

The upcoming competition promises to be an exciting showcase of talent and dedication, with athletes like Lester embodying the spirit and tenacity of the Filipino youth in the pursuit of sporting excellence. / Glaiza Ouano, UP Tacloban Intern

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