By Sheena Manabat
Calgary-based sisters Cecilia Marie and Charlize Isabelle Medilo are two manila born sisters who are making a name for themselves in the martial arts world. Both are world class athletes having won medals at the national and international level in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo.
Their father, Charly Medilo, was practicing Jiu-jitsu before he and his family immigrated to Canada where he found a trainer for his girls. Cecilia and Charlize have been training for over six years, beginning in Tae Kwon Do, then moving to Jiu Jitsu and Judo.
Charlize Isabelle was inspired by her older sister Cecilia to try combat sports. The grade 7 student now trains five times a week in Judo and Jiu Jitsu, while also weight training a few times a week. Last year, she won the gold medal in Vancouver for Pacific International Competition where she competed in U14 at 12 years old.
One of Charlize’s favourite things about martial arts is the ability to travel, and she cites Florida as being her favourite city to visit so far .
“I usually go to a lot of places and see a lot of people, so it’s fun,” Charlize says.
Charlize aspires to be like Japanese martial artists who are more tactical in their approach. She cites “ouchi gari,” an inside foot sweep where the foot makes an “o”, as her current favourite technique.
“It works for my size and since I’m a lefty, most people can’t react to it,” Charlize explains.
The elder sister, Cecilia Marie, is a three -time world champion in Jiu Jitsu and recently won the 2017 National Championships in Judo for divisions U18 and U16. Cecilia has been living in Lethbridge since fall 2017 in order to train with the Judo provincial head coach Ewan Beaton. Her rigorous training schedule includes an hour or two, twice a day, from Monday to Saturday.
“I really like the feeling of winning, the hype after it, of knowing I’ve beat someone because of how hard I’ve worked for it,” Cecilia says., “Those days really make me love the sport.”.
The fifteen 15-year-old balances her training with self-study as a grade 10 student enrolled in distance learning from Bishop Carrol High School. Their program allows Cecilia the flexibility to dedicate herself to her sport outside of Calgary and the classroom.
No doubt, many are supportive of Cecilia’s schedule, as well as her dreams which include competing in the Summer Olympics. Her mother, Rachel Medilo explains that Cecilia is currently housing with friends in Lethbridge, and who are aiding in her training, which includes a team of people, both in Calgary and Lethbridge.
Cecilia has also set up a gofundmepage to help with travel costs to international competitions. Since Charlize is still in younger divisions, there are not many international competitions and so the family is focused on sending Cecilia abroad to compete.
“We have limited financial support right now so we are mainly concentrating on Cecilia first,” Rachel explains.
To support Cecilia and learn more please visit their gofundmepage at: https://www.gofundme.com/ceciliamarie-medilo
The Medilo family would also like to thank those responsible for the girls success, including:
The JR Academy for Jiu Jitsu (Josh Russell, BJ Baldonado and Walton Chung), Ishi Yama Judo Club, Art of Jiu Jitsu (Mendes Brothers), Tilt MMA, the Athlete Factory (Olivia Mothadi for strength and conditioning), Hiros Judo Club (Garry Yamashita, Laurie Wiltshire and Ray Teruya), Lethbridge Judo Club (Ewan Beaton, Russell Gallant and Trevor McAlpine), the Geddes Family Foundation (sponsorship) and Lethbridge based Joel and Maricel Torres, the Hazell Family, and John Louie Castillo. Lastly, a big thank you to family from the Philippines, Australia and U.S.A for their never -ending support!