PH men's poomsae team had to 'reinvent' to keep gold; now they eye first-ever Asiad
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – It's difficult to reach the summit, and it's even harder to stay there.
The Philippine men's poomsae team grabbed its third straight gold medal since 2013 at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games on Saturday, August 26 here. The team had one different member during the 2013 gold, but this team – comprised of brothers Dustin and Rico Mella as well as Rodolfo Reyes Jr – has been together since 2015.
Dustin, 22, admitted they were conscious about not sticking to the same old formula every two years.
"We had to reinvent. Because once you're on top, it's harder to maintain," he said after they notched a final score of 8.37 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. "So we tried to figure something new, we added new types of training to boost our performance."
That included employing a conditioning coach to guide them through training with weights in the gym, and then incorporating that into skills training. They began training for the SEA Games at the start of the year.
Their hardwork resulted in averages of 3.40 in accuracy and 4.97 in presentation during their event.
"I feel proud," said Dustin, a fresh graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman with a degree in Business Economics. "I don't have anything else to say but that I'm happy. I'm happy for us and our country."
Dustin also shared how he also had to juggle time with school (before he graduated) and training, as well as his job as a coach of the National Univesity poomsae team (after he graduated).
Meanwhile, his younger brother Rico, 21, is still studying at De La Salle University and taking up Computer Science major in Computer Systems Engineering.
"I always tell myself that I have a reason to fight and one of those reasons is I fight for my heart, I fight like my life depends on it," Rico said after the win.
Reyes, also 22 and only a few weeks older than Dustin, studied Education at the University of Santo Tomas.
The trio are now eyeing participation in the Asian Games next year in Indonesia. It will be the first time taekwondo poomsae will be included in the Asiad. The event isn't even in the Olympics yet.
There's no assurance they will be the team to represent the Philippines next year, but they're willing to put in the work.
"Within the national team no one is irrepplaceable," Dustin said. "If you relax and someone works harder than you, he can replace you." – Rappler.com