“Before, I was being bullied in my elementary and there were days that I came home with some bruises. My mommies or titas encouraged me to join taekwondo not to take revenge but to gain self-confidence and to defend myself.”

This was uttered by 14-year-old James Annrhey Suyom Pecayco when asked why he joined taekwondo at a young age.

The native of Brgy. Pakiad, Oton, Iloilo is a mainstay of Iloilo MVP Taekwondo gym and currently enrolled in Iloilo National High School – Special Program in Sports.

“My Mommy Joy was the one who saw the post of GTLC school about their summer activities, and she encouraged me to join the taekwondo training” James said.

Prior to his taekwondo journey, James is a consistent honor student and loves to play chess together with his Papa, Tito Ninong Russel and Mommy Joy.

“As a taekwondo player, it has a big impact and really changed my life. I gained confidence and met more friends. The encouragement and advices of our coaches was a big help to push myself more to do my best,” James shared.

For over the years, playing under Iloilo MVP with the guidance of his coach Denmark Pinggol, James also starred in various local, national and even international games.

He started joining tournaments since 2019 where he got his first bronze medal as a yellow belter in Antique.

“After that, sige-sige na tournament ko and despite nga nag ka pandemic, hindi naging hadlang ini as we joined different online competitions where I got gold medal ASEAN National tournament. Nagdaog man ko sa Milo tournament and last year, I got bronze medal in Batang Pinoy online speed kicking,” James explained.

This coming Batang Pinoy, he is looking forward to more hard trainings and maintains his bakbak connection, more sweat and body aches because he said he trusts the process of MVP ways.

James’ mother, Antonette, told Iloilo Metropolitan Times that they always admire the dedication of James being a student athlete and believe in his skills and capabilities.

“May mga mistakes man siya sa games pero we believe nga kaya niya e improve or e correct, that’s why pirme kami ga video sang games nya para ma review nya and makita niya kung diin siya nagsala or nagkulang. We always remind him to be humble, respectful and to listen always sa coaches niya, also be thankful and grateful sa dako nga bulig sang coaches niya sa iya. Ginahimo gid namon ni papa niya tanan pra masuportahan siya,” she added.

Moreover, coach Mark also commended James for being one of the best jins in the team. “James is very passionate about his taekwondo training. He displays a character that every athlete must have, with a champion spirit, disciplined and well dedicated jin. More importantly, I love him more for being so respectful towards his coaches and teammates,” shared Pinggol.

James is always motivated because of the support he gets from his parents, saying they did everything to support his passion.

“To those aspiring jins, just do your best and don’t quit. It’s ok to fail but never surrender. In every game, my mama and papa are always telling me to enjoy it and lift everything to God. Thank you to all who support me, especially to my coaches,” he said.IMT