What's Christmas like for athletes

What's Christmas like for athletes
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Celebrating Christmas with their families and loved ones is what Davao athletes look forward to each year.

After working so hard for the rest of the year, the warmth of home is always a cherished reward.

In the spirit of the season, they take a well-deserved break to share joy, create lasting memories, and rejuvenate for the challenges that lie ahead. 

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Multi-sports athlete Chino Sy Tancontian, fresh from clinching a gold medal in the 2023 SEA Sambo Championships held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on December 16, 2023, said that instead of returning home to Davao City as in previous years, his family will celebrate Christmas due to soaring costs of Manila-Davao plane tickets.

Despite this change, Chino, his father Paolo (President of Pilipinas Sambo Federation Inc.), and his sister Sydney (a world sambo bronze medalist) will be together in Manila, joined later by mom Janet, who will fly in for the Christmas break.

"Promise ko po sa sarili kong mag-rest after sa sunod-sunod na laro. Kailangan din nang pahinga ng katawan at utak (I promised myself to rest after consecutive competitions. The body and brain also need rest)," he told SunStar Davao in a Facebook interview.

He shared that he's craving Davao's lechon and would want his mother to bring some to Manila and look forward to their planned road trip as a family.

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No break 

Tokyo Olympics boxing silver medalist Nesthy Alcayde Petecio regrets not being able to return home to Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, where his parents reside, for the Christmas celebration.

As the national boxing team gears up for the Paris 2024 Olympics qualifiers in February 2024, Petecio, who began her amateur boxing career in Davao City, said, "Wala mi bakasyon, training gihapon (We don't have a vacation, we will continue training)." 

Despite the tight schedule, Petecio appreciates the opportunity provided by their coaches and Abap boss to celebrate Christmas together. 

The Aiba 2019 women's world boxing champion said she will instead be staying in her home in Tagaytay City with her partner Gen and younger sister Nicezzaa's family.

While she stays in her Tagaytay City home with her partner Gen and younger sister Nicezzaa's family, national boxers competing in the Olympic qualifiers, along with their coaches, plan a Christmas get-together at the homes of Petecio and fellow Olympic medalists Eumir Felix Marcial and Carlo Paalam in Tagaytay, as the three are neighbors.

Petecio extends warm Christmas wishes to her fellow athletes, urging them to celebrate safely with their families and always prioritize putting God first in everything.

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For Cambodia jiu-jitsu SEA Games gold medalist Marc Alexander Lim, who hails from Davao City, said: "Christmas this year will be a "reset". Given the holidays where the gym is mostly closed, I will have a few days to enjoy life not worrying about anything."

Lim anticipates relishing all the food he desires, a luxury he couldn't indulge in during the competition season. 

Despite breaking his hand recently and facing ongoing rehabilitation, he emphasizes the importance of patience in the process, aiming to continue improving as an athlete. 

"I have to be patient with the process while still doing what I can to become a better athlete; like lifting weights with an assisted hand and eating somewhat responsibly," he said, encouraging fellow Dabawenyo athletes not to become overly fixated on their goals to the point of forgetting to live.

His Christmas wish? Lim hopes for the best government and private support for all deserving athletes in the coming year.

For Davao athletes, Christmas is a cherished pause—whether it's celebrating with family, training for upcoming competitions, or seeking a reset to savor life's simple pleasures. 

Each athlete embraces the holiday spirit uniquely, sharing warm wishes for the coming year. MLSA


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