BEMEDALLED. Divina Sembrana (center) poses with her medals at the awarding ceremony in gymnastics at the EBJ Gymnasium for the Palarong Pambansa. Photo courtesy of Divina Sembrano
ANTIQUE, Philippines – Nothing can stop the heart of an athlete.
This is what Divina Sembrano proved who, despite all her struggles in life, managed to be named Philippines’ most outstanding secondary individual all-around gymnast for Palarong Pambansa 2017.
The 13-year-old Manileña emerged triumphant in women’s artistic gymnastics (WAM), winning first place in rhythmic gymnastics (RG) clubs, second in RG rope and RG Hoop, lastly, third in RG ball.
A part of the perennial champions the National Capital Region (NCR) gymnastics team, Divina paved the floor for NCR to get the highest spot in the secondary rhythmic gymnastics championship.
Poverty is no excuse
"Kahit mahirap ka, pwede ka pa ring mangarap," Divina said. (Being less fortunate is not a reason for you to stop dreaming.)
National champion Divina is the youngest child of Eduardo Sembrano who works as a truck driver and Senonia Sembrano, a baby sitter and a laundry lady. Her eldest sibling has special needs.
"Binenta po namin ‘yung damit ko noong NCR Palaro para makabili ng bago ngayong Palarong Pambansa," Divina shared. (We sold the costumes I used during the NCR Palaro so that we would be able to buy and wear a new one for Palarong Pambansa.)
Divina’s journey to Palaro is a story of hard work, determination and perseverance. Despite all the odds, she keeps a positive outlook in life.
International gymnast in the making
"Sinagot po ng parent ng ka-school ko ‘yung pamasahe ni mama para makasama siya rito sa Antique,” Divina added. (The parent of my schoolmate sponsored the fare for my mother so that she could be here with me in Antique.)
She added: "Na-discover po ako ni Ma’am Lazora noong sumasayaw ako sa isang program sa school. Tapos simula Grade 3 pa lang po sumasali sali na ako sa contest."
(I was discovered by Ma’am Lazora when she saw me performing a dance number during our school program, I started participating in various gymnastics contests since I was in 3rd Grade.)
While it’s usually tasking to balance both academic and extra-curricular activities, Divina is a consistent honor student and even graduated as 5th honorable mention in her class.
"Pangarap kong makarating sa international competition tulad ng Olympics,” Divina added. (My dream is to qualify in an international competition like Olympics.)
The young gymnast has been getting awards since 2015. She bagged 5 gold medals and one silver during the Palarong Pambansa in Tagum City. On her 3rd year competing at the Palarong Pambansa, Divina earned 6 gold medals at the Palarong Pambansa in Bicol in 2016,
"Aleksandra Soldatova is my idol because of her extraordinary talent in gymnastics," Divina said.
She may not have everything in life but one thing is for sure, Divina is a strong fighter at a young age. She is a woman of determination and commitment. Indeed, nothing can stop her in achieving her dreams. – Rappler.com
READ: Palarong Pambansa 2017 stories by campus journalists