Advice from the OG Milo Champion.
It’s totally normal to feel unsure about your next step. Pursuing something that you’re passionate about isn’t always the easiest thing to do. There are so many things to consider like where to begin, how to cement your name in the industry, and how to move forward.
We at Young STAR know that you’ve got a lot of questions, and so we’re starting a series where we get the answers straight from the OGs — established people who’ve made a name for themselves in their respective fields. It might be hard to imagine that they’ve gone through the same things that you might be going through now, but everyone has their own struggles. If there’s anyone who can give the best advice, it’s the OGs themselves.
We spoke to Japoy Lizardo, one of the OG Milo Champions alongside Chris Tiu. You might remember him from all the Milo Tetra Paks in your grade school baon. He’s competed in various international Taekwondo competitions, earning the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games and in the Asian Taekwondo Championships for our country. As the current coach of The Philippine National Taekwondo team, he’s currently at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Above all though, you gotta remember that Japoy was once a student athlete like you. He’s gone through the motions, so we asked him for some student-athlete OG advice. This is what he had to say.
Was there ever a time when you wanted to quit Taekwondo? Why? And if so, how did you get through it?
Yes, there was a time that I wanted to quit. I was too tired and drained because of training. We trained everyday and if there was an upcoming competition, we trained three times a day. With the support and encouragement of my family I was able to get through it. What motivates me to keep going is my family and, of course, my country.
How did you manage to balance your studies and training back when you were still in school? Do you have any tips for young athletes who are doing the same thing now?
My parents told me that if I got low grades, I’d have to stop Taekwondo. Because of that, I asked for their help so I could properly balance my time with school and training. The solution was to finish my school work early so I could focus on my training later in the day. In college, I fixed my schedule in such a way that I had less subjects. I made sure that they were all morning classes so at night I could focus on training. The bottomline was to make sure I was able to do both.
What advice would you give to athletes who want to continue pursuing their chosen sport after school?
Give it your all, focus on your training and don’t let difficulties get in the way. Don’t let anything stop you. Be committed because hard work is the key to success. Lastly, lift everything up to the Lord.