The 14-year-old Sofia Guidote stands on a threshold of a bright future as a figure skater.
Guidote, who recently was chosen to represent the Philippines in Disney Channel Southeast Asia’s Dream Big, Princess, took up the sport at the age of five and won her first local competition in the same year at Skate Manila 2007.
Guidote said she aims to inspire other girls to reach their dreams through courage, discipline and hard work.
Guidote, who grew up in Mandaluyong City, started winning medals in 2009 en route to her dominance of the Juvenile division of the Asian Regional Junior Figure Skating Challenge.
In 2010, at the age of eight, she became the national champion of the pre-juvenile division at the Philippine National Figure Skating Championships. In 2011, she ruled the juvenile division of the same tilt.
Armed with new skills and confidence, she won several gold medals in the Novice A, Creative Solo category and Group Performance category of the 2012 Asian Regional Junior Figure Skating Challenge.
At the 2013 International Skating Union (ISU) Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy in Bangkok, Thailand, Guidote became the first Filipino skater to won a bronze medal in the Novice A category.
Guidote, too, has proven her mettle outside of Asia by making her presence felt in the 2014 ISU World Development Trophy. Out of 56 skaters from 15 countries, Guidote finished second in her category.
Competing in Asia anew in 2014, she ruled the South East Asian Trophy in Bangkok.
Last year, she ranked fourth out of 21 competitors in the 2015 ISU Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy. Her achievement at that time was the highest for any female competitor in the sport from Southeast Asia.
“I’ve competed a lot already. Sometimes, they say I am really mayabang [boastful]but I don’t think that is true,” said Guidote in an interview.
“For me, I am not that good yet because I still have a long way to go to reach my ultimate goal which is to reach the Winter Olympics,” said Guidote.
But a foot injury prevented her from joining the National Figure Skating Championship in December 2015.
“I am fully recovered now. When I recovered, I did a lot of exercises for my foot to prevent injury.”
Despite her devotion to her sport, Guidote never neglect her studies. The young athlete is finishing her studies via home schooling so she can have more time training for competitions.
“I have lots of sacrifices and prepares myself to be disciplined.”
“Usually, I wake up at 5:30 a.m. then go to the rink and skate for two hours in the morning and after that I go to school for four hours and go home to school and get ready for test.”
“Since Grade 4, I started to go home schooling because it’s hard to be absent in school because of the competition and training,” she said. Guidote added that despite her young age, she is not exempt from envious people who want to pull her down.
“I think, mostly, they just like to put me down so that I get frustrated and just give up. But, of course, I don’t want that to happen.”
“Never ever give up because there will be lots of up’s and down’s. Prepare yourself to make a lot of sacrifices, to give up what you really love for you to be able to achieve your dream,” she concluded.
Besides being a successful figure skater, Guidote also dreams of becoming a fashion designer someday.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID