CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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All in the spirit of sport

HONG KONG (SE): A taekwondo exhibition put on by Elena Lomboy and Sharon Villanueva at the annual SportsFest organised by the Simbayanan-KAMMPI on February 10 at the Young Christian Workers Wu Kai Sha Youth Village, not only showed off their martial arts skills, but the true spirit of sportsmanship promoted by the organisers.

Lomboy, the muse from St. Francis parish, faced off against Sharon Villanueva in a demonstration of warding off a physical attack. In a few deft moves, black-belt Lomboy had red-belt Villanueva on the ground nursing a bit of pain from her heavy fall.

But in the spirit of the oath of sportsmanship that the president of the KAMMPI, Rosario Araquil, invited all to take at a Mass celebrated earlier in the day at St. Francis in Ma On Shan, Villanueva took the fall with dignity and Lomboy quickly tended to the injury suffered by her opponent with some basic first aid.

Villanueva thanked her opponent for the contest, saying that pain is a part of every practice session and that she soon began to feel better.

The two taekwondo proponents spoke enthusiastically about their sport and Lomboy demonstrated how to break a wooden board with one kick, although sometimes it turned out it can take two!

In introducing herself to the gathering, the black belt-holder said her motto is, “Learning is a gift even though pain is the teacher.” She said she got her black belt after two years’ training at the Ma On Shan branch of the United Taekwondo Academy.

Lomboy explained that taekwondo is something she had longed to learn since high school, but the fees in The Philippines are expensive, so she is delighted to have the opportunity in Hong Kong.

She is now an instructor at the club and believes that some self-defence skills are necessary in The Philippines, because of the high crime rate.

Mary Rose Prieto, the muse from St. Jude Filipino Catholic Group, demonstrated her martial arts skills in the traditional Filipino kali, which uses two strong sticks as an extension of the hands.

She said she practices at KEAT Filipino Martial Art Club every Sunday, as the exercise helps her to build up her strength. She encouraged everyone to have a go.

But overall, the hardy souls who turned out to compete in the series of games and events, including track and field, volleyball, sack races, tugs of war, volleyball and aerobics, as well as a muse and cheer dancing competitions, said they found it a great opportunity to develop their self-confidence, while contributing to the overall community spirit and having fun at the same time.

Father Mechelle Reginio said at the opening Mass that while it is normal for people to want recognition from others, it becomes excessive when the desire for recognition extends to everything they do.

He also reminded the gathering that the spirit of fasting during Lent is not depriving ourselves of good food. “We try to think of the needs of the hungry people, feel what they feel and give what we saved to the needy,” he said.

The organisations that entered teams for the day were the Sunday Group at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Filipinos, St. Thomas the Apostle Church English-speaking Community, Apostleship of Prayer English-speaking Community, Mother of Good Counsel Saturday Group, Ss. Peter and Paul parish, St. Jude Filipino Catholic Group, St. Francis Filipino Community and Sacred Heart Canossian Prayer Group, as well as Holy Family Filipino Catholic Group.

After losing in volleyball, Maricel Alarcon, from the Apostleship of Prayer, together with the coach, Ramiro Cruz, showed the Sunday Examiner the bruises from their rigorous training sessions on their forearms.

Cruz chuckled, “I trained them hard and they lost really hard too. But they managed to smile even while losing and keep their team spirit up.”

Alarcon added that her group is only beginning at volleyball and she saw the competition mostly as a chance to get together and enjoy each other’s friendship.

Sister Basilides Superable, the spiritual director of the pastoral centre Sunday group, told the Sunday Examiner that it is good to see migrant workers taking part in the SportsFest every year, as the event can help migrant people, who may feel detached from their families and countries, to develop their sense of belonging to a community.

At the same time, sport can build self-esteem and dignity, and competition can teach how to deal with honour or defeat.


“In front of God, we are all nothing, winning or losing. We are all dust, but God loves us which gives us honour,” she said.

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