In Spin.ph's 'Before Lockdown' series, we take a look at the "last two minutes" before sports was completely shut down around the globe. Athletes from the few games that were played this year look back on the last few days (and the last few games) before the new normal.
Before all the sporting events around the globe were put to halt, the Philippine Taekwondo team was unstoppable.
The Pinoy jins were thriving, and their motivation to win was higher than ever.
After bringing home three gold honors in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year, the first few months of this year was a rigorous — and victorious — time for the national team, as they conquered one competition after another.
They took on Carlos Palanca Jr. Taekwondo Championships in February, began the Philippine Taekwondo League early in March, and started their preparation for the 2020 Asian Taekwondo Championships in Lebanon.
Then everything was put on pause because of the pandemic.
Still, Dave Cea, who clinched gold in the first SEA Games of his young career, has found that the current pandemic hasn't dampened his desire to return to the mats.
No promises were made about the resumption of games, but even during the lockdown, the 22-year-old jin never stopped hustling.
In fact, the long wait only makes him hungrier.
“Before nag-lockdown, nasa Laguna kami nagte-training for 2020 Asian in Lebanon, kaso na-postpone due to the virus. I felt sad nung time na ‘yon but wala naman akong magagawa kasi it’s for the safety of the participants,” he told SPIN Life. “Pero hindi ako tumigil mag-training. I took the opportunity and time na para mas mag-ready pa sa future na laro.”
Luckily, Dave have found a practice partner in his younger brother, Darwin, also a taekwondo athlete in the UAAP juniors level.
“I just stay focused on what I can do to stay active. ‘Yung brother ko, sabay kami mag-workout, he’s my partner during my kicking drills dito sa bahay,” he shared.
When not training, the 5-foot-11 athlete keeps himself busy and entertained by watching taekwondo fights online. He said: “Excited na talaga ako, nami-miss ko na ‘yung mga bagay na ginagawa ko nung wala pang pandemic.”
However enthusiastic and hopeful to continue his journey, Cea recalls that more than the individual effort, it was their team camaraderie and their representation of the country that fueled their drive for more victories.
“Sa national team, each competition namin, team effort ‘yung laro, hindi kami nagbe-base sa individual,” he said.
It’s a long way to go, but with the whole team behind him, Cea will zealously continue his young career... once circumstances get back to normal.