Weightlifting champion Ellen Rose Perez may have been the talk of the town due to her recent victories, but her rise to success, like most people, is paved with struggles.
Perez said she struggles in juggling her studies and her training, and the balancing act is far from perfect, despite the challenge she rises above it.
She struggles too with maintaining her weight, but that’s something that can be easily remedied by a jogging session.
Despite her struggles, she keeps her eyes on the prize. Her sacrifices are bigger than her, as a country pin hopes on her to bring honor and glory.
The 19-year-old Criminology student of University of Bohol (UB) said she has priorities straightened up and works towards, perhaps, a shot at the Olympics soon and win a medal while she’s at it.
Inspired by Olympic silver medalist and female weightlifter Hidelyn Diaz, Perez said she wants to bring honor to the country by winning medals and she did just that recently.
Perez captured gold medals in Asian Cup and the Asian Inter-Club Weightlifting Championships in Yanggu Country, Gangwon Province in South Korea last month.
The lass from Tagbilaran’s Poblacion 1 presented her medals to Gov. Edgar Chatto and Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap in separate occasions last week.
Perez was among the awardees during the annual Carlos P. Garcia Day last November 4 for her exploits in the field of weightlifting.
Aside from gold medals, Perez also captured three bronze medals in the senior, youth and junior Asian Championship held in Kathmandu, Nepal back in July.
Campaigning in the 53-kilogram category, same with Diaz, she wants to gain more experience and to become better to realize her Olympic dream and continue to win medals for the country in the future.
TOUGH BALANCING ACT
Perez told the Tribune that her schooling and training is a tough balancing act. However, he makes sure that despite the challenges and as times may become daunting, she is able to come up with decent grades.
To cope with the demands of training, Perez said she did not get a full load for her studies in school to have time in training for weightlifting.
She spends around two hours per day for training. She is trying to be in top condition in preparation for a competition in Uzbekistan in April next year.
Despite the challenges, Perez is thankful for weightlifting since it has opened a lot of doors for her.
UB is providing her scholarship as she continues to study Criminology, which is aside from the stipend she receives from the Philippine Sports Commission being a national athlete representing the country.
In a way, Perez feels she is blessed to have been able to compete and embrace well the sport of weightlifting.
“Bisag kapoy na kaayo, kayanon gihapon,” (Even though it is tiring, I strive to continue) said Perez.
She is no stranger with injuries, but she managed to shrug it away and thankful she was able to recover.
FUTURE OF TAGBILARAN IN WEIGHTLIFTING
Don’t look now, but there are at least 40 young prospects from the city already being primed to be the next “Ellen Perez”.
Samuel Aligada, Perez’s coach said there are a lot of youngsters inclined to take up the sport.
Perez said she was encouraged to take up weightlifting because only a few are into this kind of sport.
There are athletes as young as 11 years old are already being trained to be weightlifters and now able to lift twice their weight, said Aligada.
Some of the athletes are being prepared for national competitions, as most of the weightlifting competitions are done nationally, added Aligada.