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Fil-Am Competes in 2011 USA Figure, Physique, Bikini Championship Pro Qualifier in Las Vegas


PhilBoxing.com




LAS VEGAS, NV? Filipino boxing fans, especially those who follow the boxing portal www.Philboxing.com, have been enamored with their very own Filipina boxing champion Ana ?Hurricane? Julaton by her accomplishments both inside and outside the ring as the current WBO AND IBA female super bantamweight champion of the world.

Unbeknownst to many, there is another sport, besides boxing, karate and tae- kwon-do that some Filipina-Americans practice with dedication and sacrifice to better themselves as a person. Also, by competing in the national and international arenas in this sport, they bring prestige not only to themselves and their families but also to the Philippines, their home country.

One of these Fil-Ams is Willaine Kay Astronomo Marquez. A resident of Stockton, California but was born in Parang, Marikina City, Philippines to Wilfredo and Evelinda Marquez.

Willaine possesses the 3Bs so adored by many: Body, Beauty and Brains. A magna cum laude graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at California State University -Sacramento, she also steeled in herself the discipline, dedication and commitment to the sport of ?bodybuilding,? yes, ?bodybuilding?? hardly common among Filipinos? and rarely for a Filipina, for that matter.

She had been practicing karate for eight years before she started weight lifting in February 2009 mainly to enhance her performance and to manage her weight. As a karate black belter, she entered numerous tournaments all over America since 2002 until 2008, and garnered a number of individual and team golds to boot. Bronze and gold medals in Grants Pass, Oregon in 2006 and Miami, Florida. Individual Gold medals in Kata and Kobudo and team gold in Kata in the 1st International Philippine Goodwill karate-do Championships in 2008.

attending as a spectator at the 2010 contra costa bodybuilding, figure,bikini and fitness championships in hayward, california provided willaine the self-discovery that her physique at that time was not yet at par with the women competing onstage. it was on that day, sort of a milestone, that she took the challenge and prepared for her first figure competition in bodybuilding.

?In my very first competition, I placed second in my class at the 2010 San Francisco Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships in Hayward, California. I knew then, that it was the sport I wanted to do," Willaine confided. This was followed by a 5th place Figure Class C at 2010 IBFF/NPC Sacramento Championships in Sacramento, California and another 2nd place finish at the 2011 NPC San Jose Championships in San Jose, California.

Just recently, inspired by another fifth place finish in her only 4th competition at the LA Bodybuilding and Figure Championships on July 23, 2011 in Culver City, California, and with the earnest encouragement of her coach, Omar Ventura, Willaine entered the USA Bodybuilding, Figure, Men and Women?s Physique and Bikini Championship Pro Qualifier held in Las Vegas on July 29-30, 2011 at University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).

However, she only finished 16th place in Figure Class C. Was she discouraged? Nope. It only further motivated her resolve to do better next time.

?Although, I didn?t place first, or in the top five, I must say I was still a winner. Because I knew in my heart that I gave it all and I knew God put me exactly where I needed to be and that was in the 16th place. For me, it meant that there was no way else to go but up. Competing was a privilege and my ranking only fueled me to take this experience and continue to strive,? Willaine shared.

?Besides, the best amateurs in the United States compete at the USA Pro Qualifier where, fortunately, I was among them and honored to be one. Only those who placed first or second at a local regional show are qualified to participate and compete at this event. Thereafter, those who win top place in their class in this event were able to compete internationally. Those who win here were incredible and brought their 'A' game,? Willaine added.

?Competing in bodybuilding is a demanding sport like all other sports. Many of us wake up early to do a session of cardio in the morning, and again in the evening. We deprive ourselves of our favorite dishes (yes, including the homemade traditional Filipino foods like adobo and pansit). Our meals are measured and timed. We lift weights four to five times a week. We do all these things while continuing to balance our daily responsibilities. Although these sacrifices can seem overwhelming for some, it is very possible for anyone to do,? explains Willaine.

?When I began my journey in bodybuilding, I had no idea what was in store for me. Little did I know my life was going to change forever. The greatest change is in my spirituality. My relationship with God had become stronger than it had ever been," reveals Willaine.

"In preparing for any competition, I have no time for family and friends as my life evolves in the gym. I am very fortunate that my family supports me. However, preparation and training take their toll on my mental state of mind. In order to stay strong emotionally, I turn to my faith to help me pull through the tribulations associated with life and fitness. My faith reminded me that the suffering Jesus had endured was worse than my pain, and I was strengthened,? admits Willaine.

If there is one hardworking competitor who believes that Filipinos are naturally strong, and steeled fighters at-heart, and have the will to push through challenges, it's Willaine Kay Astronomo-Marquez, who lives by that belief.

It would not surprise anyone if in the near future, she'd reign supreme in the USA Bodybuilding, Figure, Men and Women?s Physique and Bikini Championships as this is her only 5th competition and she is just starting. She further believed that there is always room to learn and improve oneself as an athlete and as a person. ?The rules of life and of a sport are always evolving. So, one must also evolve to be successful and find challenges to keep one motivated,? Willaine stated as a matter of fact.

Filipino athletes and boxers could take a cue from Willaine regarding her discipline, dedication and faith in God and family, and could emulate her example as she pointed out above.

You heard it, Filipino boxers, as we follow you at Philboxing.com. Find challenges. Be motivated and be successful.







Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rod Mijares.


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