THE deadly coronavirus pandemic which forced sports to grind to a halt under a worldwide shutdown since March isn’t about to slow down wushu champion Agatha Wong.
Rather than staying idle, Wong prefers to keep her focus and continue to work hard in training under the new normal in sports.
For Wong, it is part of her duty as a national athlete.
“I always think that i am carrying the flag of the Philippines and the name of the country as a national athlete in wushu,”said Wong during the 12th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Thursday.
“That’s always the driving force for me to train and give 100 percent everyday. That keeps me going,” added Wong, now the “Poster Girl” of wushu, during the weekly public service sports program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“I confess na may mga araw din na ayokong mag-training kasi wala po nagha-handle sa akin, walang nagbabantay sa akin. Hindi rin ako pwedeng lumabas ng bahay. Pero I know I always have to remember that I am carrying the flag. It’s always all about hard work and discipline,” added Wong, who graduated with a bachelor arts degree in consular and diplomatic affairs at the College of St. Benilde.
The 21-year-old wushu champion from Dagupan said she is scheduled to compete in four major international competitions — World Championships, World Cup, Asian Championships, and Asian Traditional Championships.
All four events will be held in four different countries: India, Japan, Italy and China.
“This year, marami sana akong pupuntahan. Unfortunately, Italy and China are the top countries that we are not supposed to go to at the start of the pandemic. So it’s quite funny that I have to go there this year,” said Wong, who made the country proud by winning two gold medals in the 30th Southeast Asian Games wushu competitions held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City last December.
“But next year (2021), I think they will just reschedule all these competitions. Magdo-doble pa ang competitions namin since World and Asian Championships are held once every two years.
Probably, I will be going to at least six competitions,” added Wong, who also brought home the silver medal in taijiquan event in the World Championships in Jakarta in 2015 and bronze medal in the same event in the Asian Games in Palembang/Jakarta in 2018.
“Wala pang schedule, pero medyo madugo po ang kampanya ko next year. But I’m really excited about it.”
On the plans to hold virtual wushu competitions during the pandemic:
“Actually, mahirap mag-organize ng wushu events sa ngayon. Since this is an exhibition martial arts event, mas mahirap ang pag-judge lalo online. Hindi makita ang mga mistakes mo kapag hindi maganda ang wi-fi connection. So there are some moments that you can cheat off unlike nung SEA Games na nandoon physically,” she said.
“As of now, meron kaming isang virtual competition na balak salihan pero mukhang hindi po kami sasali dun as a national team.”
Wong, whose father is a Chinese mestizo from Dagupan, had reiterated time and again that she is a genuine Filipina.
“My last name is Chinese and yet I am a Filipina more than anything. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in the Philippines and represent the Philippines wherever I go. Mahal ko ang bayan ko” Wong once posted on her Twitter account to debunk claims that she is a Chinese after winning a wushu good.
And Wong vowed to continue to bring honors to the country in international wushu competitions.