RIO DE JANEIRO — Charly Suarez is one of the two boxers that will be vying for the gold medal for the Philippines in this year’s Olympics. But Suarez won’t be here at this stage without an experience that turned his career as well as his life around.
Suarez credits his faith for the turnaround.
“As a Christian, nag-sheshare din ako ng word of God sa mga kasamahan ko,” said Suarez, who sported a ‘Team Jesus’ cap upon his arrival at the Athletes Village.
Life wasn’t always easy for the 27-year-old Suarez. He was one of the top national boxers in the country when he won the gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games until his career was derailed by injuries.
“Tatlong beses ako na-injured sa likod. Slipped disc. Bubuksan na daw ‘yung spiral cord ko,” said the lightweight boxer from Davao Del Norte.
It was at this time that he turned, or to be more specific, returned to his faith.
“Nakilala ko ‘yung Panginoon second year college tapos napariwara ako, napalayo sa Panginoon, napadala sa mga makamundong gawain,” said Suarez.
But because of his faith, Suarez said he became injury-free after that, and has since got his boxing career back on track. In 2014, he captured a silver medal in the Asian Games in Incheon before qualifying for the Olympics after capturing the silver in the Asian Oceania qualifiers.
“Dasal talaga kasi kapag sinsero ka, binibigay ng Panginoon. Doon ko nakita ‘yung work ng Panginoon,” said Suarez.
Now that he is in the Olympics, Suarez said he is naturally targeting a gold-medal finish that has been elusive for the Philippines. But he also has a greater goal in his Rio campaign.
“Siyempre, lahat ng atletang manlalaro sa Olympics, ang pinaka-mentality is gold pero sa akin, ang mentality ko , i-glorify ko lang ‘yung pangalan ng Panginoon,” said Suarez.