THE Philippines could have another gold mine in swimming in faraway Dubai.
Jaella Mische Mendoza.
At a young age of 10, Mendoza is now making waves as a promising swimmer in the United Arab Emirates where her family currently resides.
In fact, Mendoza has already captured 26 gold, 22 silver and 10 bronze medals in different school-level swimming competitions in and around the UAE.
And only last April 9-10, Mendoza did well enough to make everybody take notice.
She established national records in the 50-meter butterfly, 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke in the 10-year old age group during the APEX Swimming Community Open Championship in Dubai.
“Someday I would like to come home and swim for the Philippines,” said Mendoza during the weekly “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom.
“I’m planning to do (join the tryouts) when I get older. I can’t wait to come home and compete,” said Mendoza, who was accompanied by her mother Cecille in the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“My dream is to become an Olympian and i want to represent the Philippines in the Olympic Games someday.”
Her swimming idols?
“My idols are multiple-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and two-time Filipina swimming Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi.”
“I like Michael Phelps because he won a lot of medals in the Olympics, and I want to be like him too someday. I also idolize Jasmine because I watched her performances in the SEA Games.”
Like most child prodigies, Mendoza started swimming early.
“I started swimming when I was only four years old. When I was six, I attended swimming lessons already. I started doing competitive swimming when I turned seven ” recalled Mendoza.
Mendoza, whose family hails from San Pablo City, Laguna, did not have to wait long before the swimming gods rewarded her for perseverance.
“In my first competition, I won my first ever medal right away. It was a bronze. And then after that, I got a silver. After several competitions, I went home with a gold medal. It’s like I kept competing so I can keep winning.”
Mom Cecille said daughter Jaella’s last competitive event was the Middle East Open Championship in Dubai where she captured several gold medals.
“That was just before the lockdown in March 2020. She stopped training for about five to six months because of all the restrictions. We were hesistant at first but sh re-joined training by August or September last year,” explained Mrs. Mendoza, whose family last visited the country in 2018.
“In Dubai, open na uli with sone restrictiobs. She can train again. And when she joined the competition again last month, she established a new UAE national record,” she said.
“The whole family now plans to come home once the situation allows. If there’ll be tryouts for the national team, we’re more than happy to come home and attend. Hopefully, makasama at makapasok siya sa national team in the future.”
Asked what steps they are willing to take to help the young Mendoza achieve her dreams of becoming an Olympian, mother and daughter had the same reply: “We’ll do our best to make it happen.”