• Young jin grateful to taekwondo

    Nicole Abigail Cham (left) delivers a head kick to an opponent during a tournament. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Nicole Abigail Cham (left) delivers a head kick to an opponent during a tournament.

    She’s not just a writer; she’s also a  fighter.

    Nicole Abigail Cham discovered a new world in the Korean martial art of taekwondo. “It started when my father enrolled me and my brother in a taekwondo class in the summer of 2006 in Valenzuela City,” she recalled.

    Taekwondo has been Cham’s major preoccupation for the past 10 years. As a combat sport athlete, she has already participated in several international competitions such as the Asian Championships, Korean and Swiss Open, World Championships, Student World Championships, and Asian Games.

    She won a silver medal in the junior’s featherweight division of the Asian Championships in Hochiminh City, Vietnam—her first tournament abroad in 2012. For Cham, it was the most unforgettable moment of her taekwondo career.

    Cham, now a The 5’4, 20-year-old junior bantamweight jin of the Philippine Taekwondo National Team is on her last year in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) as a University of Santo Tomas (UST) varsity player. For the last four seasons, Cham bagged two silver and two gold medals for UST. She was also declared Most Valuable Player on top of taking the top plum in UAAP Season 76.

    When asked what people can expect from her during her last playing year she answered, “I honestly don’t like people expecting from me because it puts a lot of pressure on my shoulders. Just expect that I will perform with the best of my abilities.”

    Residing in Valenzuela City, Cham said she wants to make her parents proud. And to those people who think that she will fail, she will never get tired on proving them wrong.

    Like other athletes, she experienced defeat but considered them valuable lessons in life. “When I’m losing, it’s either it will make me or break me. And since I am still here, I think all the defeats that I have experienced made me who I am now, as a player and as a person as well,” Cham said.

    Cham also experienced criticisms that according to her, builds her character to face challenges and strive more to become a better athlete.

    “There are a lot of times I hear bad comments from my game. I really feel down if the comments come from people who have no right to make comments. [But] when I hear comments from coaches and seniors, I think of those as motivators because I know they’re just pinpointing my mistakes so that I can correct them,” she said.Cham added she loves to eat but experienced no problem in maintaining her weight. “Whatever I am eating, I’m burning during training.” She confessed that her favorite food is Trolli gummy worms.

    A few months ago, Cham graduated from UST with an AB Journalism degree and is now finishing her MA in Marketing Communication at the same university. She said that she is planning to retire in taekwondo when she started working as a marketing professional.

    “Ten years from now, I am imagining myself successful in my field of work. I will always be a part of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, maybe visiting and watching games from time to time,” she said.

    Cham expressed her gratitude toward her sport, “It has been a good run and I am happy with ending it because now I can face reality. Taekwondo has been my escape in everything. With training, I am comfortable because that has become my world. Now that it is ending, and I am saying hello to the real world and adult life, I am thankful for every lesson that it has taught me,” Cham concluded.


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