ARMM Taekwondo jin competes for chance at better life
LAGUNA, Phlippines – A taekwondo jin from Muslim Mindanao fights not only for glory, but for a chance at a better life.
Jane Bracher reports.
For Joan Elegua of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao...
everything that ever happened to her led her to this moment.
JOAN ELEGUA, ARMM TAEKWONDO: Ako rin po kulang ako sa financial pero may goal po kasi ako na gusto ko po mag-aral nito kasi may kukunin po ako na kurso na gusto ko po maabot. Pinaaral po ako ng tatay ko kahit naghihirapan kami. Sabi po niya hahanapan niya na lang po ng paraan para maano (matupad) pa rin yung pangarap ko.
(Our family doesn't have the resources to send me to school. This is why I took up Taekwondo, so maybe I can have a scholarship for the course I want to take up. My dad sends me to school even though it's hard for us financially. He says he'll find a way to make sure I reach my goal.)
Dreaming of studying criminology, Joan took the rough road to Palarong Pambansa.
A year ago, she couldn't even afford taekwondo gear.
JANE BRACHER, REPORTING: With the help of her school in Cotabato, Joan joined the varsity. And with her every kick, she visualized a better future for her and her parents back home. She also dedicates every kick to her sister.. whom she will never see again.
Joan lost her 3-year old sister when she was just 4. Her sister fell in a fish pond and drowned.
JOAN ELEGUA, ARMM TAEKWONDO: Sobra po kasi yung tatay ko po nagtratrabaho tapos yung nanay ko nagtratrabaho din nun kasi kapos po kami talaga nun. Tapos yun.. Hanap po silang paraan. Nung dumating po sila doon sa.. hindi kasi nila matanggap. Tapos yun.. Hindi nila matanggap na ganoon nangyari....Kung buhay pa nga po siya gusto ko rin siya magta-taekwondo din.
(Both of my parents were at work that time because we were really struggling financially. They were trying to make ends meet. When they got there, they couldn't believe what happened. If my sister was still alive, I would want her to do taekwondo too.)
As her parents struggled to make ends meet, Joan doubled her efforts in school and in taekwondo hoping to get a scholarship.
JOAN ELEGUA, ARMM TAEKWONDO: Gusto ko po manalo ako sa larong ito. Gusto ko po maka-gold ako, para mapakita ko rin po sa magulang ko at sa lahat ng mga kamag-anak ko na nagsikap din po ako kasi lahat ng ginagastos po ng tatay ko, ayoko yun masayang.
(I want to win. I want to take home gold so I can show my parents and all my relatives that I persevered. I don't want the money my dad worked hard for to go to waste.)
Unfortunately, the 15-year old lost her only match at Palaro.
JOAN ELEGUA, ARMM TAEKWONDO: Kailangan po magsikap po sila sa lahat ng hirap. Wag po sila manghinaan ng loob. Tsaka hindi naman po lahat ng laro nananalo ka, tanggapin po kung matatalo, kung manalo, kailangan po gawin talaga ang best.
(They have to endure training. Never lose heart. You don't always win. If you lose, you have to accept it. To win, you have to give your best.)
Joan says this is not the end of the road for her.
She looks forward to other competitions and opportunities, making her parents and her lost sister proud.
Jane Bracher, Rappler, Laguna.