Being NCAA Season 95’s “Most Valuable Player” (MVP) and bagging the “Most Outstanding Student-Athlete” award during the 28th Gawad Benildyano for the second time in a row, Loralee Natividad shared how she persevered and overcame her ordeals to reach the top.
Inspired by Filipino Taekwondo athlete Japoy Lizardo and Chinese actor Jackie Chan, third year Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management (BS-HRIM) major in Tourism Management student Loralee Natividad started her interest in the sport at the age of 13. When she won during her first Taekwondo competition, she pursued the sport as her career. During her participation in her last Palarong Pambansa, she was seen by her head coach, Mr. Roberto Cruz, as an addition to the Benildean team therefore, starting her college life in Taft.
“Hindi man ako nanalo pero nakita niya ako as a potential player for his team. Para sa kanya, he [wanted] to [mold] me para mag-improve ‘yung skills ko sa Taekwondo,” she said during her interview with The Benildean.
Adapting to the training schedule and interacting with her fellow teammates became one of the challenges that Natividad encountered during her rookie year. Eventually, she was able to overcome them with self-discipline and the help of her other teammates.
Reaching the stars
With perseverance in reaching her goals, she brought home the bronze medal during the NCAA Season 94 and eventually, a gold medal in the last NCAA Season thus, being awarded as the MVP in the Taekwondo Women’s Division.
“As a student-athlete, kailangan may confidence ka talaga lalo na [pagdating] sa game para may lakas ka. Dahil [din sa paniniwala sa sarili], nag-improve ‘yung mindset ko. Simula ng pagpasok ko sa [DLS-CSB], naging open ako sa lahat ng tao [at sa] lahat ng opportunities na dumadating,” she said.
Being awarded once again by the College for “Most Outstanding Student-Athlete” during the recent Gawad Benildyano last Jan. 29, Natividad expressed her gratitude in being recognized by the panel for her performance throughout the screening process.
“I thought hindi ko siya makukuha but thankfully, ako ‘yung pinili ng Gawad Benildyano organizers at Center for Student Life as “Most Outstanding Student-Athlete.” Lalo pa ako na-motivate na gawin ‘yung mga gusto ko para sa school at sa team,” she added.
Preparing for the upcoming NCAA
As announced by the Philippine Taekwondo Association in 2021, the sport will be one of the game events to look forward to in the upcoming season of NCAA 96 this coming March. For Taekwondo, the competition consists of online speed kicking, freestyle and poomsae demonstration.
As the season quickly approaches, the team is currently preparing through their usual schedule for training such as body conditioning workouts and kicking drills in their routine. As part of preparing for the competition, they also do a one-minute speed kicking through video to meet the competition criteria.
She expressed her gratitude for the people who have supported and continued supporting her in her student-athlete journey. “Sobrang thankful ako lalo na kay [Coach] Cruz kasi dahil sa kanya, nag-continue ‘yung dream ko as a Taekwondo athlete. Thankful ako sa teammates ko kahit quarantine, nag-tatraining sila [para suportahan kami]. For the family naman, lagi sila [nandiyan] para suportahan ako kahit ako lang mag-isa mag-training.”
Lastly, she shared her message to aspiring student-athletes, “Magpatuloy lang kahit sobrang hirap kasi hindi natin kontrolado ‘yung buong mundo so hindi natin alam kung ano ang mangyayari. And sipag, isa siya sa puhunan ngayon para ma-overcome ‘yung challenges at mas mag-improve pa.”