WINNING three gold medals in dancesport in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in New Clark City last December opened the doors of success for the duo of Ana Nualla and Sean Aranar.
Now, they want to help young and talented dancesport athletes to get the same opportunity in whatever way they can.
One of them is through hosting zoom clinics where they can share their knowledge and experiences in the coming weeks.
“We want to share our blessings in whatever way we can. One of them is to encourage young athletes to take up dancesport and help them become champions themselves,” chorused Nualla and Aranar during the 8th “Usapang Sports on Air by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom yesterday.
“We really wanted to do it right after winning in the SEA Games last December. But then COVID happens and we now have to stay home and stay safe,” said Nulla during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“But we will do it as soon as the situation allows. Maybe we’ll start with our zoom clinics in the coming weeks,” added the 23-year-old Aranar.
Both Nualla and Aranar, who are ranked No.103 overall in the world, claimed the coronavirus pandemic kept most of them (dancesport athletes) at home since the outbreak last March.
But they continued their training, dancing regularly at home and keeping themselves fit and ready.
The two SEA Games gold medalists, however, admitted it is difficut not to be able to train and dance together because of the social distancing policy being implemented as part of the health and safety requirements.
Nualla and Aranar are hoping that dance studios will be allowed to open soon so that “we can train together not only in our homes, but in a bigger venue.”
The two admitted that dancesport brought them together not only professionally, but personally as well.
“We’re dancing together for almost seven years now, and we enjoy doing it. The chemistry is there from the start,” said Aranar, who met Nualla in 2013.
The partneship took them to Asian cities Taipei and Hong Kong, which are considered dance hotspots.
Then, Europe where they honed their skills together and even impressed the dancesports world.
As real-life partner, Nualla and Aranar have also wisely invested part of their cash incentives in last year’s SEA Games in food business and other interests.
“It’s really a wise decision (to invest), especially now that times are hard because of this pandemic,” explained the 28-year-old Nualla, who started dancesport when she was only 16 years old upon the invitation of one of her classmates in one of the dance studios in Makati.
Nualla and Aranar rose to prominence by winning three gold medals in dancesport in the 30th SEA Games held at the Royce Hotel in New Clark City.
The couple topped the Standard Tango, Viennese Waltz and All Star Five Standard to spearhead the Filipinos’ bid in the one-day competition.
Overall, the Philippines bagged 10 out of the 14 gold medals in dancesport.
The Filipinos also added three silvers to their haul.
That made the Philippine Dancesport Federation (PDSF) the second winningest national sports association after arnis.
(In 2005 SEA Games, the Philippines won a gold and a silver in the Latin American category, and another gold and silver in the Standard category).
Looking back, both Nualla and Aranar said hard work and a lot of sacrifices enabled them to achieve their goal of winning the SEA Games gold medals.
“Naaalala ko po yun mga sacrifices namin. Yun pagod, dancing even with a fever, practicing even if hungry,” Nualla, a licensed chemist, recalled.
The couple also attributed their SEA Games success to the training camp in Lithuania under famed coaches Donatas Vezelis and Lina Chatkeviciute exactly a month before the SEA Games.
“Of course, the PSC and PAGCOR went all-out to support our campaign -- from the training camp in Lithuania up to the actual competitions in Clark,” recalled Nualla, who works at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatics Resources.
“I stopped working to fully prepare for the SEA Games last year. I’m supposed to come back (to work) but then the pandemic came,” she explained.
Her partner, Aranar, also took the opportunity to go back to studies at the Far Eastern University “especially since wala pa naman kaming competitions this year.”
Also present during the two-hour session shown live on Facecbook and YouTube was Oliver Gan, consultant for golf of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).