She has that girl-next-door looks. But be careful, she is smart and can do powerful roundhouse and axe kicks.
Shaneen Ched Hembrador-Sia, 16, is considered a taekwondo princess with a 2nd dan black belt. She has proven her prowess in both national and international taekwondo scenes at a young age.
But taekwondo was not really in Shaneen’s plans in the beginning. At the age of 11, she was asked to try the sport since her brother Kevin is already into it and was training under Arsenal Jr. of the Aresenal Taekwondo Center.
“I was really scared at first. I couldn’t imagine myself in to this kind of sport since my interest before I joined taekwondo was ramp modeling. I was too girly, that I couldn’t imagine myself being hit and punched,” she said.
Shaneen was born and raised in Cagayan de Oro City. Her parents, Eddie and Cheryl Marie Sia are very supportive of her and her brothers.
“I’m so blessed and grateful for having them as my parents because they were both there to support me and my brothers all the time,” she said.
Her two younger brothers are also into taekwondo. Kevin Louis, 15, is a 2nd dan black belt and is a member of the Philippine Junior National Team while Jason John, 10, is a first dan black belt.
Winning gold medals and becoming part of the national taekwondo team have kept Shaneen motivated in this sport for years now.
She has already harvested numerous awards in both national and international scenes. She won a gold medal in sparring and a silver medal in poomsae during the 2007 Malaysia Open. She won another gold medal in team poomsae and bronze medals in sparring and individual poomsae during the 9th ASEAN Taekwondo Championships 2009 in Vietnam and she finished with a silver medal in poomsae in last year’s US Open and finished fourth place in the Korea Open.
She was a grandslam gold medalist in sparring during the Milo Little Olympics in Mindanao from 2007-2009, and a silver medalist in the National Poomsae Championship 2008-2009 for individual poomsae.
In 2009, she got a gold medal for poomsae during the Carlos Palanca Jr. National Taekeondo Championship and continued to strut her wares this year as she has amazingly harvested three gold medals in the 2010 CPJ-NTC for individual, pair and team poomsae.
Since she is already part of the national team, to keep on winning gold medals in the international competitions and to join big events such as the world poomsae championships and Southeast Asian Games, are some of the things she dreams of.
Her skills in taekwondo are not all there is to Shaneen. She also excels academically.
She finished her elementary and secondary education at the International School Cagayan de Oro where she graduated as valedictorian and received awards such as Gerry Roxas Youth Leadership Award, AY Foundation National discipline Award, Excellence in Math and Science, Department of Education’s Award of Excellence, and Outstanding Achievement in Sports.
She moved to Cebu to study Physical Therapy at Cebu Doctors’ University but still continued her taekwondo career.
Being a national athlete and a student at the same time was a tough test for Shaneen but with the challenge she has learned the value of time management and sacrifice.
“As an athlete and at the same time a student, I’ve learned how to manage my time and it entails a lot of sacrifices in order to balance these two important things,” she said.
Rani Ortega, Janice Lagman, Camille Alarilla are the three awesome girls that Shaneen looks up to when it comes to taekwondo but she also plays other sports like volleyball, table tennis and swimming.
“I’ve been idolizing them ever since I joined this sport because they’re exemplary,” she said.
With all the things she achieved and will be achieving, Shaneen wants to impart her motivational thoughts to all aspiring athletes who also want to be part of the national team.
“I encourage everyone especially the athletes to set goals for ones’ self and to strongly stand for something that can give your life a direction and purpose. Just train hard, believe in yourself and just lift everything up to the Lord,” she ended.
article By Marigold P. Lebumfacil of The Freeeman