Oft-injured gymnast celebrates Palaro return with 4 gold medals

Myke Miravite
After missing 2 Palaro editions to injuries, Regine Reynoso returned and dominated the gymnastics events here.

PERFECT. Reynoso executed her routine perfectly en route to numerous gold medals. Photo by Rappler/Kevin dela Cruz.

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — After two woeful years of waiting on the sidelines, rising gymnastics star Regine Reynoso served strong notice of her return to the Palarong Pambansa stage with a resounding bang.

Combining grace, determination, and skill, the 15-year-old from Pasig pranced away with four gold medals and a bronze to announce her comeback to the biggest sporting event in the country.

“I missed competing,” the comely Reynoso shared. “I wanted to know if I can still do it.”

The young but already decorated athlete was practically unchallenged in her gold romp in the high school girls all-around (38.375), horse vault (12.513), and floor exercise (13.05) as she spearheaded the Big City gymnasts to the team championship (108.725) while she copped the bronze in the balance beam event.

Even before, Reynoso is already used to basking in the spotlight.

In 2008, the then 8-year old girl debuted at the Palaro with a five-medal haul, including four golds and one silver.

Two years later, she repeated her feat in Tarlac City with an identical medal tow.

However, in 2011, tragedy struck. 

Unrelenting foot and back pains caused Reynoso to miss the last two staging of Palarong Pambansa in Dapitan and Lingayen. But the Club Gymnastica stalwart did not lose faith and went on with her training regimen once she was able to do so.

 

Domination in Dumaguete

Despite the two-year hiatus, Reynoso entered the competition as a favorite and she instantly proved why. Three days into the Games, she is one of the most decorated athletes for NCR.

“For now, I’ll save it,” said the prolific performer about the P12,000 cash incentive she will receive for her medals. “Incentives are just bonuses to my victories.” 

Before taking on the floor in her first event last Tuesday, Reynoso, wearing her gameface, did the sign of the cross and approached the mat, determination etched on her face.

Before and after I step onto the mat, I do the sign of the cross and say this is for you, God,” Reynoso shared to Rappler. “I dedicate this Palaro journey to God.”

True enough, it was Reynoso who stepped up on top of the podium at the end of the day and emerged as the new face of Philippine gymnastics.

GOLDEN COMEBACK. Reynoso returned to the Palaro with aplomb. Photo by Rappler/Kevin dela Cruz.

A star is born

“I started gymnastics at four years old. My mom encouraged me to do this for I was born as a premature baby and she thought it would be best for my health,” Reynoso said.

Even when not in a gymnastics suit, Reynoso exudes an aura of her athleticism behind her demure facade.

When asked what was the most unforgettable moment in her career, she recounted her very first win many years back.

“It was when I received by first gold medal. Of course as a kid, I didn’t really understand how it went, but that overwhelming feeling of standing on the number one spot on the podium is one of the best feelings ever.”

However, it was not a smooth road all throughout. He had to overcome obstacles before reaching the top.

“The most painful moments are the times I got injured. I have always had that I-want-to-do-this-but-I-can’t-cause-of-this-injury moment,” recounts Reynoso. “But then as they say, all those therapies will be worth it in the end.”

Looking into the future, despite what she has already achieved, Reynoso keeps her foot aground.

“I still have two more years but we don’t know about the future. We could never really be completely confident. All I can do for now is to be the best gymnast I could be.”

For all her accolades, the young lady does not forget to thank the people who became instrument to her success.

I just want to thank them for sticking with through the 11 years of my gymnastics career. And I’d like to thank God, for the blessings that he continuously showers upon me.” – Rappler.com

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