BAGUIO CITY -- A seven-year-old daughter of a Southeast Asian Games champion is becoming the newest wushu sensation here after she won gold medal in the Mayor Benjamin Magalong Olympics tournament last November 10.
Despite being the youngest and smallest participant during the weekend games at the SPED gymnasium, Jherisse Athena O. Calica triumphed in San Lu Quan, in the form division of the Chinese martial arts.
The charming pupil from the University of Baguio-Laboratory Elementary School (UB-LES) bested older players in the tournament which was then dominated by World Wushu Championship silver medalist Faith Liana Andaya and Batang Pinoy triple gold medalist Breanna Aleca Dumseng.
Calica’s father, Jerome, was the gold winner (sanda 52 kg) in the 2001 SEA Games and was one of the four wushu players honored by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) in the same year.
After winning SEA Games gold in sanda, the older Calica shifted to taolu, the finer side of wushu which she taught to her daughter.
“She started playing taolu when she was four years old. I taught her bit by bit,” said the proud father, who missed her daughter’s golden performance as he has to finish the final phase of his preparation for the 2019 SEA Games in Thailand.
“Kasla ay-ayam lang five to 10 minutes kasta (It was just like a play of five to 10 minutes). Seasonal,” he added in his message through Facebook to the Philippine News Agency.
He said Jherisse has actually used taolu for talent portions in school since “she was active in auditions for commercials and modeling then”.
Calica shared videos of his daughter to PNA to show how her daughter started with the sport when she performed in a Chinese New Year celebration in 2018 and 2019.
Then, she started training formally with him after that.
“Nag-regular training isuna kanyak idi summer this year dyay Manila (She started training regularly with me last summer in Manila),” he explained. But his family decided to stay in Baguio where she was enrolled at UB.
He said his daughter later started regular trainings with the Wushu Baguio at the Baguio athletic bowl under coaches Jake Massagan and two-time SEA Games bronze medalist Natasha Laxamana.
The future is bright for the young Calica and will likely follow in the footsteps of his father who, after 18 years, will compete again in the SEA Games as Muay Thai athlete. (PNA)