More than a year ago, Gabriella Venturina fell in love with triathlon, a sport her father introduced to her.
Venturina remembered with fondness when she was just starting with the help of her dad Nap, “Because getting to spend time with him during my first trainings were my first drivers to continue in the sport and to strive to be stronger and faster,” she said.
Venturina is currently a fourth-year Business Management student at De La Salle University (DLSU). She is a member of the DLSU triathlon team and the Mabilis na Mananakbo ni PJ Rivera track and field team.
The 20-year-old triathlete recently won gold in the overall race of TriEnergia held at the Philsports Complex. Venturina also ruled her age group in two editions of the 2016 BIATHLE. She also won the overall competition of Petron Aquathlon, finished first in the FedRun 2016 and third in the Philippine Basketball Association Run.
The 5’2 La Sallian usually grabs a quick snack, walk around, and talk to some of her teammates before entering a race. Win or lose, she celebrates with her family “by going out to eat.”
She follows a specific diet program but sees no need to count every calorie in the food she’s eating.
“I choose what I eat. I almost never eat unhealthy food. I load up on protein and carbs, meat and vegetables, and I don’t eat junk food like soft drinks, fries, etc.,” said Venturina.
On her free time, she either trains, studies, or goes out.
“Balancing activities with academics was hard at first, but I was able to manage by knowing how much I can do in each of the days of my week, and simply integrating it into my schedule. I just had to get used to it as well.”
Joining the University Athletic Association of the Philippines track and field championship became one of her goals but decided not to pursue it because studying is her top priority.
“It is the feeling of achievement that I feel upon getting stronger as I work hard for my goals in this sport. Apart from that, I also have a great support system consisting of my family, close friends, and even friends from the community,” Venturina said on what inspires her to reach greater heights of achievement in triathlon and track and field.
Being a challenging sport with a lot of obstacles, triathlon taught her to be disciplined and not to give up when things get tough.
“We have to train so hard for each of the three disciplines. With that, there are times when we fall, wake up with body aches, get sunburnt skin, and sometimes feel too tired to move,” Venturina said. “But despite that, I’ve learned to stand up, and deal with it, and work even harder to be faster and stronger with giving up not being an option – and I think that is one of the best life lessons there is.”
She names Nikko Huelgas of the Philippine National Triathlon Team and nine-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica as her role models.
Living by her motto “To strive for the best at all times,” Venturina sees herself either as an entrepreneur, a lawyer or both, 10 years from now.
“I’d also still be doing this sport, definitely a lot faster and stronger than I am now, and maybe even belong to one of the best teams,” she said.