MANILA, Philippines – A change of heart paved the way to a Southeast Asian Games gold medal.
Kaizen Dela Serna, a former gymnast, found success in the 2019 SEA Games obstacle course racing competition with teammates Kyle Redentor, Monolito Divina, and Deanne Nicole Moncada on Wednesday, December 4.
The quartet was a part of the Philippines' 4 gold-medal haul in the sport as it ruled the mixed team assist 400m x 12 obstacle with a time of 3:48.35 to beat Malaysia in the championship round by 40 seconds.
"I actually didn't love gymnastics as much anymore, so when I transitioned to obstacle course racing, I regained my passion," Dela Serna told Rappler.
Dela Serna started training for gymnastics at a young age of 7 and she even cracked the Philippine team roster.
But it was in obstacle course racing where she really fell in love, finding the switch "easy" thanks to her gymnastics background.
"I transitioned because I had the strength, the balance, the grip, and the speed to do obstacle course racing," Dela Serna said.
What is more impressive is that Dela Serna, 17, is the youngest in the entire obstacle racing squad – her 3 teammates almost twice her age.
Sure, it was a pressure-packed situation competing in an event as big as the SEA Games at home soil, but Dela Serna drew strength from her team.
"I was super pressured actually to compete in the Southeast Asian Games, but with the help of my teammates and their support, I was able to do my best."
After striking gold in the region, Dela Serna has set her sights on a larger scale.
"I actually want to compete in obstacle course racing in the long run and maybe even reach the Olympics." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.