Poor girls from Bohol sizzle in nat’l rhythmic gymnastics tilt
CEBU CITY, Philippines – It has been said that sports is a great equalizer and time and again, this has been proven true.
During the three-day Sinulog Cup-National Rhythmic Gymnastics Tournament, 10 girls from the Bohol towns of Talibon and Ubay, braved their first-ever gymnastics tournament despite having gotten into the sport just last year.
Donning the plainest of gymnastics leotards, they held their ground against participants who were garbed in sparkly and expensive-looking outfits and ended their first national tournament with two gold medals, five silvers and four bronzes (2-5-4) for a total of 20 points and an overall fifth-place finish out of 14 competing clubs.
Organizers awarded three points for a gold medal, two points for silver and one point for bronze.
The gymnasts from Bohol call themselves the Visayas Mission Confraternity Gymnastics Association. The girls got into gymnastics after missionary priest Bienvenido Visu conducted a mission in Bohol last May.
Father Visu said that the advocacy of their congregation which is linked with Adamson University is youth development through sports and arts.
“Why we do this? One, we have found out that the fastest and the best way to give self-confidence is through the performing arts,” said Father Visu.
The missionary priest added that “we have also found out that the best way to develop the minds of the young people is through ballet and gymnastics.”
The girls come from the poor areas of Talibon and Ubay wherein their families are barely able to eat three meals a day.
The tournament was the first time that the girls were able to get out of their areas, said Father Visu.
Father Visu added that they want “to give them a chance, those who do not have money, do not have the capacity or the chance, we want to give them the opportunity. And, you’ll find out that Filipinos, whether they are poor or rich are the same in the sports,” said Father Visu.
The priest added that they get by with the help of some individuals who help them financially such as the foreigner whom they call “Mr. Black”.
And, Father Visu hopes that more kind-hearted individuals would help them so that aside from their chosen sports, the girls would also be able to finish their education. /rcg
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