PAULINE Louise Lopez is more than just a taekwondo champion.
To most people in the sports community, she is also the perfect role model for the youth.
In fact, she is now one of the more popular Milo Sports ambassadors along with Alyssa Valdez (volleyball), Kiefer Ravena (basketball), Jamie Lim (karate) and Mary Joy Tabal (marathon).
The 23-year-old Lopez is a two-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games (2015 Singapore, 2019 Manila) and bronze medalist in the Asian Games (2018 Jakarta).
She is also a gold medalist in the Asian Youth Games ( 2013 Nanjing) and Asian Taekwondo Championships ( 2016 Manila).
She is also one of the more articulate athletes around as shown by her appearance in last Thursday’s “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom.
With her in the TOPS forum are Nestle -Milo AVP Lester Castillo and coach Igor Mella.
Let’s listen to her:
On sports during the coronavirus pandemic:
“Sports is an integral part of our daily life even though we’re still in a quarantine. Personally, I don’t think the pandemic has affected my mindset into pursuing my dreams and goals.”
On the holding of online competitions by the Philippine Taekwondo Association to keep the athletes busy:
“It’s obviously a new experience for all of us (online tournaments). It’s something that we have never done before. And just like anything new, we have to adjust. But I realized that it’s something we are all looking forward to -- the competition.”
On her competitive edge as an athlete:
“As an athlete, there’s that competitive fighting spirit within me. So I always train hard and do my best. In speed kicking, I really did my best to be faster and competitive.”
On her relationship with the taekwondo community during the pandemic:
"It’s fun for me to know that there is still a community, although we’re far apart. We’re still almost together. We’re still training virtually. We’re trying our very best to stay in shape not just with our body but also with our mind. The taekwondo community really stepped up and I commend the PTA for a good job.”
On the challenges and effectivity of training for online taekwondo competitions inside a self-made bubble:
“Like what my father and even coach Igor (Mella) used to say, if there’s a will, there's a way. We just have to continue to pursue what we love.There will always be challenges, but like in anything you have to work on it.”
On the importance of education and her online studies at Ateneo:
“I am really glad that I was actually able to go back to school (Ateneo online studies). It is something I really want to pursue ever since I moved back to the Philippines. I have been away for two years and It's really refreshing to go back. It got me really excited.
On her daily schedule as a taekwondo champion:
“For now, no contact training at all. I just do a lot of virtual training. I created this bubble for myself where I go to an area to train and it’s only myself. Then I ask my conditioning coach and national team coach to do a virtual training where they would watch me while I train and tell me where I need to do better.”
On her training experience during the pandemic:
“Pareho lang naman You have to train hard the same way, the same mentality. But there's still no blocking, no kicking someone which I misses so much.”
On being one of Milo's ambassadors for sports:
“I always try to inspire the youth to keep going even during this pandemic. I even posted a lot on my social media to let them know that I work out a lot even at home to stay physically and mentally fit. At home, I train almost twice a day. One for taekwondo and one for strength conditioning.”
On Milo Homecourt program to keep the youth busy during the stay-at-home period:
“I am really happy to be a part of this Milo Homecourt program kasi this is something I would like to do. Thank you to Milo. It’s my way to keep inspiring the youth to keep going no matter what.”
On her message to parents and children who want to follow her footsteps and stay at home:
“Stay home, stay safe and stay active. Let's follow what the government and the IATF are telling. And more importantly, let's get into sports thru our Milo sports program everyday.”
NOTES -- Happy birthday to my sister Mary Grace Andaya-Ypil of NAPOLCOM, who is turning another year older -- and wiser-- on Aug. 5. Her husband Ramon and children John Francis, Angelo, Mark and Jude will be there to celebrate her special day. She is a devotee of Mother Mary and St. Joseph...
Belated happy birthday to my sister-in-law Annie Dieron-Andaya (July 23) and her loving apo Shan Paulo (July 30), who both celebrated in their family home in Orange County, USA...
Birthday greetings, too, to Journal Group of Publications editor-in-chief Gus Villanueva (Aug. 4) and Philippine Daily Inquirer sportswriter June Navarro (Aug. 4).
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