Apr 17
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Talking champions with Danica Calapatan

Making of a champion: Values like self-discipline and being responsible helped Nica Calapatan become the country's top gymnast and a champion not just in sports but most importantly in life.

Author: The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sixteen-year-old Danica "Nica" Calapatan still vividly remembers her first experience with gymnastics. "I immediately thought it was all just going to be fun, especially after seeing all the apparatuses. Back then, I saw gymnastics as just another way to play," says Nica. Years after that initial encounter, Nica is now a Milo Sports ambassador and a much-celebrated rhythmic gymnastics champion, winning admiration and medals thanks to her innate talent and the values that she learned through sports.

Like most top-level athletes, Nica had to make sacrifices to achieve success. When she was just starting out, she remembers the times when her daily routine would consist of trips between school and the gym. "I felt I was losing out on what kids my age should be doing back then. The daily commute from home to school and gym was also tiring and I thought about quitting. But obviously I remained firm and I'm glad I made that decision," says Nica.

So what strengthened her resolve? "If you really love what you're doing, you will do everything to excel in it, even if it means going through so many difficulties. Besides, I love representing the Philippines in international competitions. I feel a great sense of pride knowing that I'm carrying our country's colors," says Nica, who has already won multiple medals in international gymnastics events like the South East Asian Games, the ASEAN School Games and the South East Asian Gymnastics Convention.

All the trappings of fame and success haven't changed Nica though, even if she's seen in numerous Milo commercials and posters. She says she finds it surprising when young girls ask her to pose with them for pictures or ask for autographs. "It's a humbling experience," says Nica. She adds her being a Milo ambassador spurred her to work even harder and inspires her to always be the champion that she truly is.

Nica is aware that her success wouldn't have been possible without the support of her family and friends and the character-forming values that gymnastics taught her. "I became more disciplined and responsible and my confidence grew," says Nica. She says being prayerful also helps her a lot. "Before a competition, I usually pray the rosary. I get my strength from God," says Nica.

Her ultimate goal is to compete in the Olympics. Thanks to her success, talent and admirable values, Nica may indeed become an Olympian. In the meantime though, expect this young athlete to continue charming everyone with her skill and grace as she shows the world that she is indeed, a champion in sports and in life.

Source: The Philippine Star