De Guzman set to scale new heights

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KUALA LUMPUR: Now that her stint in the 29th Southeast Asian Games is finally over, gymnast Kaitlin de Guzman is setting her sights on a much bigger goal – the Asian Games.

The 17-year old de Guzman stressed that winning in the biennial meet is just the tip of the iceberg as she would continue working hard to conquer the continental level when the 18th Asian Games fires off in Jakarta next year.

In the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Bangkok last May, her first taste of international competition, she delivered Level 10 routines and managed to come up wit a good finish behind superpowers like China, Japan and South Korea to earn a ticket to the national team.

Kaitlin Cera Lianne De la Cruz De Guzman of the Philippines competes in the women’s artistic gymnastic floor exercise final event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. AFP PHOTO

She carried that momentum to the SEA Games where she won the gold medal in uneven bars before pocketing the silver medal in floor exercise and bronze medal in balance beam to emerge as the most bemedaled Filipino athlete midway into this two-week conclave.


“I was told that I will compete in the Asian Games, so I’m focused on that goal,” said de Guzman. “I had good performance against countries like Japan, China and Korea in the Asian competition last May. It was my first international competition so I came to Bangkok without knowing what to expect.”

“I think I can do better in the Asian level next time. I will work hard to achieve that goal.”

Her mother, Chiang Mai SEA Games gold medalist Cintamoni Dela Cruz, said they would just go home to the United States to have a quick check on de Guzman’s hips before plunging back to training at Metroflex Gymnastics in Dallas.

She would also have to report to University of Oklahoma – a gymnastics powerhouse in the Division I of US NCAA – to formally confirm her commitment to join.

“It’s going to be a short vacation for her,” said de Guzman. “After having her hips checked and visit University of Oklahoma, she will start her training again for the Asian Games at Metroflex. She’ll be very busy in the next few days.”

“I saw how she competed in the Asian level and I know that she has a chance against countries like Japan, China and Korea with good preparation and hard work.”

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