A GRADE 8 student of Assumption Iloilo is ready to defend her taekwondo crown in the 2017 Iloilo Schools Sports Council Meet or Integrated Meet which opened Dec 5, 2017 at the Iloilo Sports Complex (ISC).
Sophia Marie Tungala, 14, won the gold medal in secondary girls’ Poomsae category in the 2016 Integrated Meet.
Tungala started taking interest in taekwondo at 5 years old while watching her older brother train.
By the age of 6, she was convinced by her father to try the sport and the rest is history.
She participated in various invitational tournaments and also represented her school in the Iloilo Private Schools Athletic Association (ILOPRISAA) Meet starting when she was 8 years old until today.
She received her blackbelt when she was 10 years old. Her interest in Poomsae bloomed when she was 11 years old after joining the National Poomsae Championships in Manila.
“I failed to bring home the medal but that was the start of a new journey for me. I became part of the Iloilo Poomsae team after that competition,” Tungala shared.
Her achievements continued after the national game until she finally captured the gold medal in the 2016 Western Visayas Regional Athletics Association (WVRAA) Meet in the Individual Poomsae event and in other regional tournaments.
She also won numerous gold medals in Group and Mixed Pair Poomsae events in regional and national events.
A student of the A. Diasnes Taekwondo Gym, she first tried out for the National Poomsae Team Training Pool in 2015, but she did not make it.
“It was heartbreaking for me, but with the help and support of my family and teammates, I returned back to the gym and used this as a motivation to train harder,” she added.
The following year, she made another attempt but failed yet again. The failure felt harder, but she pushed herself to try again.
On her third attempt, she finally made it and became a member of the 2018 Philippine Poomsae Team Training Pool.
Aside from being an athlete, she also helps out during summer clinics as an assistant instructor to her seniors.
“I can say that I spent more time in the gym than in our house, especially when I started to get into Poomsae. I met new people and traveled to different places that I didn’t even think I could go to. One of my greatest achievements in Poomsae was when I got the gold medal in the 2016 National Poomsae Blackbelt team event. I also got the gold medal in the 2015 and 2017 Batang Pinoy Visayas Qualifying Leg in the same event,” narrated Tungala.
“I think that the Integrated Meet will be another opportunity to test my skills and see how much I have improved since the ILOPRISAA meet. I’m also looking forward to represent the ILOPRISAA team and to meet new people from other teams. Our team has been preparing both physically, mentally and emotionally. Our coaches have been there to help us and hopefully, the hard work that everyone has put in will help produce good results,” she added.