CEBU CITY, Philippines – Don’t let the adorable, sweet face fool you. This nine-year-old girl has a fiery attitude with courage to spare.
Meet Dawn Jasmine Gothong, a young figure skater from Mandaue City, Cebu who is proving to be a star in the making.
Only four years ago, this talented young girl took up sports. Fast forward to 2022, Dawn has already collected medals in local and international competitions.
Dawn was in her prime at the recent SkateAsia Malaysia 2022 held at the Sunway Pyramid ice rink in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she won five gold medals and one silver.
Her first place came in the 9F freestyle artistic category 4, the 9-11 mixed footwork category, the 7-9 women’s jumping and pirouette silver category, the 8-9 women’s technical category and the women’s solo 9 year. mandatory.
In addition to this massive harvest, Dawn won the silver medal in the women’s 4-9 freestyle freestyle category.
For someone who just tried figure skating for fun, Dawn, the youngest in a family of three, has definitely come a long way.
Her mother, Jade, shared that it was only by chance that her daughter got into figure skating.
“February 2018, she was five so…it was like a trial for a family weekend. You try this one [activity] where. We did it as a family,” Jade explained.
Jade was referring to a usual family weekend that brought Jade and her two siblings, Dior Justine and David Chace, to SM Seaside at South Road Properties in Cebu City.
The family tried out the mall’s skating rink. The siblings loved the skating experience, and after a few weekends of touring the facility, an offer for formal training arrived.
“We were approached by a coach who asked if we were interested in signing them up not for competition but just to learn how to skate,” Jade said.
Two months after receiving formal training, the Gothong siblings received their baptism of fire when Dawn and Dior Justine were invited to compete in a tournament in Japan.
“In June 2018 she (Dawn) competed in Japan. We all went as a family too. She came back without winning gold. She only won two silver medals but she wanted gold” , said Jade.
All three siblings competed in more competitions and consistently finished on the podium.
Just as they were starting to make a name for themselves, Dior Justine and David Chace decided to quit the sport.
“They both quit after June 2019. The reason for this is that they were back in school after the summer holidays and it was becoming more and more difficult for them to balance school life and sporty, because both involve a lot of daily hours,” said Jade.
“They had to make a decision to choose one, which was their studies.”
While her two siblings stopped, Dawn was steadfast and persistent.
“I want to keep going. I want to win,” Jade recalled what Dawn told her after competing in Japan.
“The turning point was the competition in Japan. It was there that she saw that other children could do many other things. If others can do it, why not her?
“She wanted to continue, she re-registered with the coach… she was progressing fast,” added Jade.
Jade said 2019 was very difficult for Dawn after competing in several tournaments.
Dawn did not disappoint during this eventful 2019 as she won all the gold medals at stake in the 13 categories she entered during this June tournament at SM Seaside.
“At the time, she was very young. She was rising fast and she was already on the next level,” Jade said.
Also during the same month, Dawn flew to Kuala Lumpur for another tournament.
“To test it, we took part in an international competition in Kuala Lumpur. She won five gold and four silver there,” Jade shared.
As she competed in one tournament after another, Dawn’s arsenal grew even more refined and the medals kept pouring in for her.
Dawn won four gold and two silver when she competed in Jakarta, Indonesia in October 2019.
In January 2020, Dawn bagged two gold, two silver and one bronze in Bangkok, Thailand.
The only thing that stopped Dawn from reaping victories was when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Although there was no competition, Dawn stayed in shape by doing exercises at home. She also trained in roller skating for 10 months and also trained by joining the ballet.
It was during the pandemic that Dawn met top notch skating coach Franklin Masayon, who returned home to Cebu from Manila due to the health crisis.
Masayon offered online training and Dawn was quick to join.
As things began to return to normal, Masayon returned to Manila. Jade said they thought it was the end of Dawn’s career.
“If you leave, that’s where we end up,” Jade told the coach.
Still, Masayon convinced Jade to allow Dawn to continue the sport.
It was also Masayon who encouraged Jade to bring Dawn to Manila to get some much-needed exposure.
“Coach Masayon told me, ‘I wouldn’t waste my time if I didn’t see something in her (Dawn),'” Jade said.
At Masayon’s insistence, Jade eventually brought Dawn to Manila.
Masayon gave Dawn a trainer based in Manila. Choreographer Al Mariñas also helped her train.
Dawn is now a member of the Philippines National Development Pool. She will try to join the Philippines team when she participates in a qualifying tournament scheduled before the end of the year.
With Dawn showing a lot of potential, Jade assured her daughter that the family would support her along the way.
“You may have the time and the money to spend, but if you don’t have the talent, it will be very difficult,” Jade said.
Dawn flew to Manila last May and trained for two months before strutting at the recent meet in Malaysia.
The talented youngster said her passion for the sport kept her going even though her siblings chose to quit.
“Because I love the sport, I really love it. We can love the competition and we can make new friends when we go to the competition,” said Dawn, who considers Hayden Balucating her idol.
She may still be very young but Dawn is fully aware of what it takes to win.
“I’m really happy to have won the gold because I worked hard to get it. I’m happy that the hard work paid off,” she said.
Besides her victories, what makes Jade doubly proud of Dawn is the young skater’s ability to manage her time.
Jade said Dawn has done a good job juggling her studies and her sport.
“The challenge is to balance. There is a time to study and there is a time to train,” Jade said. “I have to explain to her that she has to reconcile her studies, her sport.”
Dawn admitted that being both a student and an athlete is not an easy task.
“It’s really hard. Every end of term, the teacher gives me so much homework that I have a hard time catching up,” Dawn said. “Sometimes in my free time, I do it. I’m done skating and it’s my rest time, I start answering it. During recess at school, I answer it.
Jade said Dawn had also shown her ability to bounce back from adversity, recalling a competition in Malaysia in 2019 where Dawn was so frustrated after failing to win a gold medal.
“She really cried. She is used to winning gold. We felt it was a reality check,” Jade said.
“It was a good test, to see that you were defeated. I was waiting for her to come back or surrender. I think that’s when I said she really wanted it because she decided to continue.
Just like other athletes, Dawn has bigger goals she wants to achieve. And that goal is to see action on the grandest stage, the Olympics.
“My dad, he really wants me to go to the Olympics,” Dawn said.
Dawn vowed to work hard to achieve her Olympic dream. And if she ever manages to achieve the goal, it won’t be exclusively for her personal glory.
“Although I don’t know it yet, but then he says he wants to,” Dawn said. “I’ll just try to make him happy.” – Rappler.com