By Sheena Manabat
Cecilia Marie Medilo, a three time Pan Kids champion in Jiu Jitsu recently won gold at the Open National Judo Championships held at the Olympic Oval at the University of Calgary from May 17-20, 2018. Last year, the athlete had previously won gold in both U16 and U18 divisions in that same competition. Cecilia beat out nine other athletes in the 48kg category this year to defend the national title.
‘I was calm and everything went my way,” she explains, “my gripping was good.”
The teen is currently balancing a rigorous training schedule in Lethbridge, with self-study through distance learning from Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary where she is completing tenth grade. Her training schedule includes at least a couple hours a day, Monday to Friday with the judo provincial head coach, Ewan Beaton.
Cecilia commutes back and forth from Lethbridge to Calgary for holidays and for other training or events. Her mother Rachel, and younger sister and fellow Judoka, Charlize Isabelle, live in Calgary. Her father Charly Medilo, is currently based in Gagetown, New Brunswick as a Canadian army officer.
Charly is proud of his daughters, both of whom compete and have won national and international martial arts titles. He is happy that they have not only been successful in their sports but also that they have managed to prioritize their studies.
“I’ve seen lots of good elementary and high school kids that underperform because of time management and studies,” he says. “There’s a lot of pressure in their [Cecilia and Charlize] sports and they are actually excelling in their studies.”
Charly was in fact the one who got Cecilia and her sister into judo and jiu jitsu. He had been looking for a sport that the two could excel at, especially with their smaller sizes as Filipino girls. Charly explains that he did not want to put them into basketball because they were short, and outdoor soccer was only six months long in Calgary. So, he put them into Taekwondo and then Jiu Jitsu because he had been doing it before.
After a few years there weren’t as many Jiu Jitsu fights for the two in Alberta. Charly explains that the community is quite small and there was not much growth. They had basically been fighting the same people and so they focused on judo.
“Judo is an olympic sport and there’s a lot of growth,” Charly says, “there’s just more kids.”
This summer, Cecilia will also head out with the Alberta Judo Team for a three week training trip to Japan, the country where judo originated. The trip kicks off with an intense judo training camp, consisting of six hour practice days for one week. Then, the team will continue training at various other Japanese universities with other Japanese judoka.
Later this month, Cecilia will also compete at the Canada Cup in Montreal, which was reinstated after twenty years. It is one of Canada’s new international judo events that will also allow participants to qualify for other international events.
Because Cecilia is number one overall in her weight category, Judo Alberta is funding some of her trip to Japan and Montreal. She had been chosen to compete in Argentina for the Pan-American Cup this year, but had to decide between Japan and Argentina due to funding constraints. However, Cecilia is looking forward to her upcoming events.
“Honestly, I can’t wait for Japan,” Cecilia says, “I can’t wait to go and train with all the best people.”
If you are interested in sponsoring or supporting Cecilia, please contact Rachel Medilo at 587-889-8895 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Medilo Family would like to thank the following for continuously supporting Cecilia:
Olivia Mothadi (Strength and Conditioning Coach) at 6923 Farrell Road SE, Calgary AB., her Jiu-jitsu team – JR Academy led by Prof. Josh Russell, Prof. BJ Baldonado and Coach Alec Klonowska) at 6031 3 St. SE Calgary, AB. , Mr. Blaine Cust; The Geddes Family Foundation; Dr. Mothadi and Family; her Physiotherapists Paula Wong and Vanessa Leon; Lethbridge Judo Club ( Ewan Beaton, Russ Gallant and Trevor McAlpine); Hiro’s Judo Club; David Lirio; BrightPath Ladies (McKenzie Towne), Joel and Maricel Torres, RJ Sison and John Louie Castillo. Special thanks to all her family in the USA, Australia and the Philippines.